14 News Investigates: Evansville detectives investigate basketball coach

14 News Investigates: Evansville Financial Crime detectives investigate boys basketball coach
Published: Apr. 28, 2023 at 7:22 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - 14 News Investigates reported last year on an Evansville south baseball fundraiser that led to the arrest of the president of the league.

Today, we’re hearing from the mother of a basketball player for the Evansville sharks named Lauren Cardwell, who says a similar thing has happened to them, with a different coach.

We spoke with Cardwell Friday who says she is disappointed and angry. She says she received her money back, but is speaking out to, because she wants him to be held accountable.

“He was really dedicated to it and so many people supported him, even just random people on Facebook, you know they wanted to support the sharks, it was a local team,” says Cardwell.

Cardwell says over $700 her 11-year-old son raised for a laundry detergent fundraiser for his travel basketball team, the Evansville Sharks.

Cardwell says she submitted the money to the coach of the team, John Holland (III) back in February, but she says the detergent is still not here.

“I’m like hey look, people are really starting to ask me what’s going on,” said Cardwell.

Cardwell tells us after Holland gave multiple reasons as to why the order never arrived, she finally asked him for proof.

“You need to send me some type of confirmation that you are actually reaching out to this company, that they are the ones being shady.”

That’s when Cardwell says Holland sent her an email, supposedly from the owner of the fundraising company, called Laundry Soap Fundraisers LLC.

It’s signed by Angela Limestall, who now goes by her married name, Angela Brooks, but Brooks says she did not write that.

“I was absolutely in shock, I was angry,” said Brooks. “That cursor is showing that he is the one typing that information or this email that’s being sent to these parents, acting as me.”

Brooks says Holland did contact her to start a fundraiser, but never sent in the raised money.

Cardwell also shared this screenshot of an invoice Holland sent to her. Brooks says that is also fake.

“When you look at the very top part of this you see that he has spelled our company name incorrectly, but not only that, he has us as listed in California,” said Brooks.

Brooks is now in contact with a financial crimes detective with Evansville police, saying if Cardwell hadn’t reached out to her, this could have done a lot of damage to her business’ reputation.

“We could have been in the situation where we were put on social media as a company that just basically took all of these kids’ money.”

Cardwell says Holland transferred the money her son raised today, but she says this is more than about money.

“I wanted to believe him because he’s been really good with our kids. My son adores him. You know so it was hard situation because I even, I liked him a lot.”

She tells us she is speaking out- because she doesn’t want this to happen to any one else.

“This is why so many people don’t do fundraisers or invest in fundraisers or help out these teams that are legit because people like him take from children.”

We spoke with Holland over the phone today.

He told me quote, “I’ve been scammed as well. I’m getting to the bottom of it. Because this is tarnishing my name for something that’s not true. I’m a well, well respected person. I’ve done nothing but trying to do good by these kids, and I’m getting blasted for something.”

Holland also posted his public Facebook page. It says he made a mistake by sending the funds through a post office drop box and the funds were never received.

Cardwell says she wants him to take accountability.

“He had no intentions to me on paying back the money,” says Cardwell. “Now he does, because I brought it out for everyone to see.”

A financial crimes detective with Evansville police confirms a police report has been filed and they are investigating. They ask any one with information to contact EPD.