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Ex-youth league president pleads guilty to embezzling from it

Ex-youth league president pleads guilty to embezzling from it

Only $5 for 5 months

A man charged with embezzling more than $20,000 from Timberlake Dixie Youth Baseball alongside his wife pleaded guilty to his charges Wednesday.

Richard Lee Mathews, 45, and April Lynn Mathews, 52, both of Forest, were arrested in November 2018, about a year after starting to fraudulently siphon money from the league’s bank account, according to information from the Lynchburg Police Department and search warrants.

Richard Mathews was the president of the nonprofit league. April Mathews was the treasurer and both had access to the league’s account. Board members of Timberlake Dixie Youth Baseball noticed late in the summer of 2018 that utility bills for the league had gone unpaid and contacted LPD in October.

Investigators found the couple made what appeared to be personal purchases using the league’s account, as well as purchases for a different youth travel baseball club Richard Mathews managed, search warrants state.

Lynchburg Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Andrew Childress said Richard Mathews pleaded guilty to his two charges of embezzlement Wednesday and paid $30,000 in restitution to the league on behalf of himself and his wife.

In exchange for the plea, Childress said he agreed not to charge Mathews for “conduct from 2015 or 2016 that may have come to light.” He declined to specify what that conduct was or how much money might’ve been involved.

April Mathews’ case is scheduled for a trial Sept. 22, he said.

Richard Mathews’ attorney, Joseph Sanzone, could not be reached for comment.

A reporter from The News & Advance attempted to attend Mathews’ hearing Wednesday in Lynchburg Circuit Court but was not allowed into the courtroom for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to officials. The court’s own order regarding pandemic operations, states courtroom attendance will be limited to certain people involved in the case or courtroom operations “and members of the press where permitted by law.”

That order was effective from June 29 to July 19, and no order extending those mandates has been posted either online or at the courthouse building.

Richard Mathews is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 2.

Rachel Mahoney covers courts for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5554.

Rachel Mahoney covers courts for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5554.

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