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Booster club's treasurer arrested in theft

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Nearly $10,000 allegedly taken from Chatfield High girls volleyball organization

By Ramsey Scott

The treasurer of a booster club for the Chatfield High School girls volleyball team has been arrested on suspicion of stealing almost $10,000 from the organization. 

The woman, Kathleen McGrath, 56, is facing one charge of theft. 

McGrath, a Littleton resident, is accused of stealing $9,976 during her time as treasurer of the Spikers Booster Club from March 2012 to February 2013. 

The club raised money for the team through various activities. Most of the donations, according to the district attorney’s office, were made in cash, which McGrath was then to deposit into the club’s account. 

As treasurer, McGrath was authorized to make withdrawals and deposits. 

According to the arrest affidavit, in December 2012 Chatfield volleyball coach Stephanie Schick tried to get in touch with McGrath to transfer money from the booster club’s account into the team’s checking account. Schick was unable to contact McGrath. 

In March 2013, Schick contacted the Jeffco Sheriff’s Office to report that money was missing from the account and that the school had been unable to get in touch with McGrath. Schick told the Sheriff’s Office the booster account had about $9,000 in it when McGrath took over but was left with a negative balance of about $314.

There was no record of the exact amount raised by the booster club because most of the donations were made in cash and then given to McGrath, but Schick told investigators she believed there was more money raised than had been deposited into the account.

As a result of the subsequent investigation, the Sheriff’s Office alleges that McGrath made multiple unexplained purchases from Walmart, Verizon Wireless and Costco, along with other stores. Allegedly included in those purchases were food not associated with the volleyball team’s concession booth, tires and cigarettes. 

Kathi Erber handled concessions for the Spikers club during the time of the alleged theft, and in the affidavit said she didn’t remember a time when McGrath volunteered at games or to pick up supplies.  

Since the allegations against McGrath in 2013, Erber said a new booster club, of which she is president, has formed. The Chatfield Chargers Booster Club has instituted checks and balances on finances, and the group has focused on creating a culture of accountability. 

“We have raised all of the funds that we’ve needed to pay off the debt that was incurred, so we’re now debt free and have funds in our account to go forward and pay for things next year,” Erber said. “An entire new board was put together and formed, and we’ve put together a very solid organization to move forward with our volleyball booster club.”

Erber declined to comment on how McGrath became the former club’s treasurer. 

In a statement about the alleged theft, the Jeffco School District said it had no official relationship with the booster club or how it was administered. 

Jeffco sheriff’s spokeswoman Jacki Kelley said McGrath failed to show up for her second court date, and subsequently a warrant was issued for her arrest. She was arrested March 13 in Douglas County and released later on $5,000 bond. McGrath is scheduled to make her first court appearance in Jeffco on Monday, where she will be advised of the charges against her. 

Meanwhile, in a Denver case, McGrath is facing charges of theft, computer crimes and credit-card fraud, according to Lynn Kimbrough, spokeswoman for the Denver DA's office.

McGrath is accused of stealing nearly $170,000 between August 2011 and May 2012 from her former employer, Metro Construction.

McGrath was charged in the Denver case in February, and she pleaded not guilty. A court date has not yet been set.

Contact Ramsey Scott at ramsey@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22, and follow him on Twitter @RamseyColumbine. Check www.columbinecourier.com for updates.