AUGUSTA — The former treasurer of the Winslow Travel Soccer Club pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing almost $15,000 from the club over a 2½-year period.

Charles G. Spaulding, 43, formerly of Fairfield and now of Augusta, was sentenced during a hearing at the Capital Judicial Center to six months in jail, and the remainder of the six-year sentence was suspended. He was placed on three years of probation and ordered to pay $14,724 in restitution to the club.

Conditions of probation ban him from contact with the club and activities sponsored by the club, except for games.

According to the complaint charging Spaulding with theft by unauthorized taking, the offense occurred from April 13, 2012, to Dec, 1, 2014, in Winslow.

The offense carried a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Spaulding was represented by defense attorney Pam Ames.

Winslow police said in March that financial irregularities were discovered Nov. 28, 2014, in the soccer club’s bank accounts. The group’s executive board contacted Winslow police, who investigated the case for several months.

Detective Ron McGowen worked with executive board members and completed an audit of all the group’s accounts. Winslow Police Chief Shawn O’Leary said Spaulding began by taking small amounts of money and progressively took larger sums. Many people who embezzle money fit into a pattern of taking small amounts of money they intend to repay, O’Leary said.

O’Leary said he was unsure how much money the soccer club raises or how much it has in its bank accounts, but he noted that for such a small organization, nearly $15,000 is “a substantial amount of money.”

This is the third time in four years that theft charges have been filed against members of volunteer sports clubs in Winslow.

Winslow resident Wendi Willette, 41, pleaded guiltay last month to stealing more than $10,000 from the Winslow High School Wrestling Booster Club when she was treasurer of the organization, a smaller amount from the China Girls Field Hockey Team and up to $60,000 in state assistance. She has not been sentenced.

In late February, Ervin Morrison, 54, was arrested at his home in Vassalboro and charged with embezzling nearly $17,000 from All-Pro Sports in Waterville. According to the District Attorney’s Office, Winslow police previously had charged Morrison with Class C theft from the Winslow Midget Football Association in 2011, but the charge was dismissed after restitution was paid in January 2012.

Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

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