KINGSTON TOWNSHIP — Police are investigating an alleged theft from a youth basketball league in Luzerne County. Some of the league’s co-founders claim their chief financial officer and fellow co-founder is the one who’s been stealing the money.
Last year, Curt Lloyd and two of his friends helped start the Luzerne County Lightning youth basketball league.
It’s made up of 16 teams of fifth grade through tenth grade boys and girls, traveling to tournaments in and around the Wyoming Valley area.
A few months into the season, Lloyd said he started getting emails from vendors who complained they weren’t getting their money.
“A red flag came up regarding what was going on with the money. And then ultimately what had convinced me that something might have been funny was our last tournament got cancelled,” said Luzerne County Lightning CEO Curt Lloyd.
According to court documents, the league owed almost $9000 to several different vendors, and that doesn’t include the money that was supposed to be put aside for the tournament in which the kids never got to play.
Court papers identify Chris Walsh as the league’s the chief financial officer, who handled the money.
Lloyd said Walsh told him there wasn’t enough money to send the kids to the final tournament of the season. Court papers also reveal some of Walsh’s checks went missing.
As Kingston Police continue to investigate, Lloyd said he feels sorry for what happened to the kids and their families this season.
“There are no winners in cases like this. Everyone loses. Families lose. Players lose. Our organization loses, and it’s a travesty that this happened,” said Lloyd.
He said there are still plans to hold tryouts in the next few weeks and get the next season underway.
“Whether we have one Luzerne County lightning team or we have 16 like we had this year, we’re going to move forward and turn this into a positive,” said Lloyd.
Lloyd said the accused thief, Chris Walsh, is expected to turn himself into police on Tuesday. Police plan to file charges.
The league is now working to refund parents who paid for hotel rooms for the tournament that kids weren’t able to attend.