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Former Band Booster Club Treasurer Found Guilty of Theft, Ordered to Repay $25,000


(NEWARK, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Licking County Prosecutor Kenneth W. Oswalt announced today that a former treasurer of the Watkins Memorial High School Band Booster Club has been ordered to repay $25,000 to the booster club after being found guilty of theft.

Ernest “Todd” Bowers, 51, of Pataskala, today entered a no contest plea to one count of grand theft. He was sentenced to five years of community control with the condition that he spend 60 days in county jail, serve 200 hours of community service, and hold no role involving fiscal responsibilities for any civic organization during this time.

He also was ordered to pay $25,000 in restitution. He paid $14,000 today.

The case was prosecuted by Licking County Prosecutor Oswalt following an investigation by the Ohio Attorney General’s Charitable Law Section, which found that over a four-year period Bowers used the booster club’s debit card for personal purposes, such as vacations, gas, food, personal cell phones, cable services, and education expenses for family members.

“Most people involved with school booster clubs do the right thing, but some people take advantage of their position and pocket money for themselves,” Attorney General DeWine said. “We are glad that Mr. Bowers is being held accountable for his actions.”

“This ought to be a good lesson for all organizations. No matter how much you trust the people handling your fiscal matters, always check. Always audit,” Prosecutor Oswalt said. “There’s too much at stake not to monitor and check your accounting on a regular basis.”

The Attorney General’s Charitable Law Section oversees charitable activity in the state. Booster clubs, like most other charities operating in Ohio, generally must register with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. (Office staff members are available to help organizations understand their registration requirements.)

Those who want to learn more or report suspicious charitable activity should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at or 800-282-0515.


Media Contacts

Dan Tierney: 614-466-3840
Kate Hanson: 614-466-3840

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