Police: Over $6k stolen from children’s baseball league, 2 people arrested

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Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 6:55 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Two people were arrested after it was discovered thousands of dollars had been stolen from a community children’s baseball league.

According to an affidavit, married couple Eric Cooper and Heather Buckman were the president and secretary of Evansville South Baseball.

[Previous Story: President of Evansville South Baseball League arrested following popcorn incident]

Officials say over $6,000 were stolen from the league, and bank statements obtained by EPD show how the money was spent.

According to Evansville Police Financial Crimes Detective Nathan VanCleave, some of the money was spent on gambling, gasoline and outside business costs.

Now the leagues president, Cooper, and the secretary, Buckham have been arrested.

Cooper is charged with forgery and theft, while Buckham is charged with a misdemeanor theft.

The investigation into Cooper and Buckham began as parents began voicing their concerns about a popcorn fundraiser.

Detective VanCleave says the theft went back much further.

According to an affidavit, money was stolen from two of the league’s bank accounts in January and February, totaling to more than $6,000.

Missy Mosby, an Evansville City Council woman says she is already working hard to ensure the future of the program is in good hands.

“We need people to trust us again. Because we want your child playing here, we want this field to be what it used to be,” Mosby said. “And we’re going to make sure next year that they get to have a season, and we’re going to see kids out here, having practices and playing ball with very nice uniforms.”

Mosby says with the allegations against Cooper and Buckman, she does not see how it will be possible for them to continue leading the league.

She says she believes they have violated the rules of a 501 C3. The IRS states a board must have three members, but at the time of their arrests, Cooper and Buckman were the only board members. The board also states more than 51 percent of the board must not be related, or married.

“Moving forward, I’ve spoken to some different parents and people that are interested in making sure this moves forward and I believe they’re looking at possibly a name change and starting a new 501 C3 and actually doing everything that’s supposed to be done,” Mosby said.

Myshawn Brooks is one of those parents raising his hand. He coached for the league multiple seasons and played in the league as a child.

Brooks says he knew Eric Cooper for six years and considered him a close friend.

“You let them down. They looked up to him, they looked up to me, and then they have questions and doubt towards myself,” Brooks said. “But I don’t want them to have that because going forward I have a goal.”

Brooks says with the community’s support he would be glad to lead the league.

“I was real honest with them and telling them,” Brooks said. “And they were like ‘coach, well what happens to the league now?’ And I was like, ‘Hey, if y’all believe in me, I’m going to make it happen.’”

According to the league’s website, Cooper and Buckman are no longer listed as being on the board. There is no board information online at all.

Cooper will be back in court on Sept. 19 and Buckman will be back on Sept. 16.

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