Dover Little League claims then-president used debit card at casino

DOVER — According to police in court papers, Dover Little League officials went to authorities on July 27 to report an alleged internal theft, which eventually led to five charges being filed against their then-league president.

The Dover Police Department investigated allegations against William Berry, 52, of 100 block of Greenbriar Road in Hartly, and announced on Saturday that he had turned himself in to authorities the day before, accompanied by an attorney.

Police said Mr. Berry was charged with felony theft over $1,500, theft by false pretense over $1,500 and unlawful use of a payment card over $1,500, and two counts of misdemeanor third-degree forgery. He was arraigned at Justice of the Peace Court 7 in Dover and released on a $7,000 unsecured bond pending a Friday appearance in the Kent County Court of Common Pleas in Dover.

 William M. Berry

William M. Berry

Attempts to reach Mr. Berry, presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty, for comment on Monday were not immediately successful.

In an affidavit of probable cause, a Dover Police detective said Dover Little League representatives alleged Mr. Berry had used an organization’s “credit card without authorization for his own personal use, had also stolen money from the (Dover LL) concession stand cash registers on several occasions and had stolen money from a (Dover LL) (redacted) fundraiser of which (he) was in charge.”

When contacting police, papers said, Dover Little League officials “provided bank account statements, emails and other documents detailing the thefts and unauthorized use.”

League officials alleged Mr. Berry used a Dover Little League debit card to make 11 unauthorized purchases, all but one listed as occurring at Harrington Raceway and Casino on July 10 and 11, ranging between $1 and $537.99. Two $1 purchases were made on July 10, according to police in documents.

Another $200 cash withdrawal allegedly was conducted on July 4, authorities said in papers.

According to authorities, it was alleged that $2,242.90 was taken by false pretense through unauthorized use of a payment card.

“(Dover LL) advised that (Mr. Berry) was not authorized to make personal use of said payment card and any of the … listed transactions were definitely not authorized by the (Dover LL),” papers read.

Police said in papers that the debit/credit card company involved “will ultimately be the victim of the false pretense.”

Cash register claims

Also, Dover Little League officials alleged, according to police in papers, “a witness saw (Mr. Berry) remove money from the cash register without documenting same.” Dover LL alleged that “(Mr. Berry) never deposited that money or otherwise documented where it went or what it was used for.

“Witness confirmed that (Mr. Berry was seen taking) money from the cash registers in the concession stand on several occasions.”

According to police in documents, $1,540 was allegedly stolen from the concession stand.

Also, league officials claimed in papers according to police, Mr. Berry allegedly oversaw a springtime 2015 fundraiser through a company in which Dover Little League would receive 20 percent to 30 percent of the value of products sold. Officials alleged Mr. Berry was the only person who collected fundraiser money and communicated with company representatives, papers said.

“(League officials) stated that no one complained that they did not receive their merchandise,” police said in papers.

According to police in papers, a league representative allegedly found that $687.91 had been stolen from the fundraiser, with a contract, receipts, bank transactions and sales sheets being provided to authorities.

Additionally, (Dover LL) advised on that two occasions, Mr. Berry allegedly forged a signature without permission when issuing Dover LL checks requiring two signatures.

Police said in papers that copies of two checks issued on July 14 and 15 were provided.

The total amount of alleged theft by false pretense was $4,470.81, according to police.

Dover LL statement

When Dover police announced the charges via news release on Saturday, a statement from the Dover Little League Board of Directors was attached and read:

“Following the values set forth by the Little League, the Dover Little League Board of Directors had the character and courage to pursue some questionable actions by our former president.

“Our Board is committed to maintaining the loyalty of our parents, players, community and sponsors. We regret deeply this incident has occurred but assure you it was dealt with swiftly.

“As this is an ongoing investigation, we are unable to provide additional comments or information. We are thankful for the support of the Dover Police Department’s efforts and have been fully cooperative with their investigation.”

Generally speaking regarding any advice or tips for volunteer-run organizations on how to properly handle finances, Dover Police spokesman Cpl. Mark Hoffman said, “We suggest built-in checks and balances such as having more than one person responsible for the management of finances, requiring two signatures on all checks and other safeguards put to use.”

Regarding the frequency of investigation into allegations of volunteer-run organizations financial issues, Cpl. Hoffman said, “I cannot recall one in recent memory. Several people I spoke with could not either.”

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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