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More than $300,000 was taken from the Blacksburg High School Athletic Foundation.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
More than $300,000 raised for the sports program at Blacksburg High School was taken by the former treasurer of the school’s booster club, federal authorities allege in an indictment unsealed this week.
Ricky W. Hayter, who served as treasurer of the Blacksburg High School Athletic Foundation, is charged with 10 counts of wire fraud.
As the club’s chief financial officer, Hayter was in charge of managing bank accounts that at one point held more than $700,000 raised for projects such as a new field house and artificial turf for the football field.
While about $350,000 from the campaign went toward building the field house, federal authorities allege, much of the remaining money wound up in Hayter’s hands.
Unknown to other members of the booster club, Hayter transferred $301,000 of its funds into an online investment account he opened in the club’s name, the indictment alleges.
A majority of the money funneled to the TD Ameritrade account was lost to poor investments.
“Hayter conducted numerous margin trades within the TD account, making his unauthorized trading all the more risky,” the indictment states.
Federal authorities say Hayter also wrote checks to himself from the investment account and used other funds from the athletic club’s account to pay down his personal credit card.
The credit card was used for clothing, travel and restaurant meals for Hayter and his family, the indictment alleges.
Hayter, who for months has been the subject of an investigation by Virginia State Police and the U.S. Secret Service, was indicted late last month by a grand jury in U.S. District Court in Roanoke.
The indictment was unsealed Tuesday , when Hayter appeared in court for an arraignment.
Judge James Turk set an unsecured bond of $25,000 for Hayter, who was released from jail a short time later, according to online court records.
Federal prosecutors declined to comment on the case. Hayter’s attorney, federal public defender Fay Spence, could not be reached Wednesday .
Hayter, 50, of Blacksburg, did not return a call to his cellphone.
As a nonprofit organization, the Blacksburg High School Athletic Foundation is a separate entity from the school system and does not receive public funds.
The club’s main goal is to raise money for Blacksburg athletic teams, in part by operating concession stands at sporting events.
In 2007, the club kicked off a fundraising campaign dubbed “Lend a Hand for the Stands,” according to the indictment.
The campaign raised more than $700,000 , about half of which was donated for a new field house.
Questions about the remaining balance first arose in June 2012 when the booster club elected new officers. Hayter, who was not re-elected as treasurer, at first indicated that he would share the organization’s financial information with the person who took his place, federal authorities say.
But he provided “only excuses and cursory information,” the indictment states. “Much of the limited information he provided was false.”
In one example cited by the indictment, Hayter presented a spreadsheet to club officials that purported to show more than $400,000 in three bank accounts.
Through the summer of 2010, the new slate of club officers pressed Hayter for details that never came. Finally, on Oct. 24, 2012, they sent him a certified letter, demanding a full financial accounting by Nov. 9.
“To date,” the indictment states, “Hayter has not responded to these requests.”
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