Youth football president charged with stealing league funds

Youth Football President Charged With Stealing League Funds
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NEOSHO, Mo. – The Neosho Youth Football League president is charged with stealing funds from the League.

The Newton County Prosecutor’s Office has charged Stewart P. Pace with Stealing – $25,000 or More (Felony C).

According to court documents, Pace and his wife, Jessica Pace, who was the League treasurer, both used League funds. According to the Newton County Prosecutor’s Office, authorities are requesting charges against Jessica as well. Those charges will go under review after the Prosecutor returns to the office on Monday.

The Investigation Begins

On May 4, 2022, members of the league’s board met with Detective Todd Morgan to report the alleged theft of funds.

They claimed the account was down to $20.72 and gave the detective bank statements dating back to June of 2020, board meetings minutes and other paperwork.

The alleged fraudulent charges highlighted by the league board totaled $40,062.26, according to court documents. Most of those charges were at ATMs and gas stations by a debit card assigned to Jessica Pace.

On April 6, the football league board had an emergency meeting. They told Detective Morgan that two weeks prior, the treasurer claimed there was $22,000 in the checking account. During the meeting, they called Stewart Pace on speakerphone and asked him if he knew there was only $20.72 left in the account.

Stewart allegedly told them he would look into it. But, the next day, a board member claimed he texted her admitting to using the funds to help him with financials. The member gave those text messages to Detective Morgan.

Detective Interviews

On May 5, Detective Morgan called and told Stewart he needed to speak with him and Jessica about a case. He interviewed them separately.

During her interview, Jessica Pace allegedly stated that they both misused the football league funds.  But, court documents state it was mostly her husband. She believed they had used $2,000 from the account, but claimed to have deposited $2,500.

Detective Morgan states he did find a deposit in February of 2022.

According to the detective, Stewart Pace stated “that he was out of work for a while and started using the football leagues money to pay bills, fix his truck and it ‘Just got out of hand.'” Stewart allegedly estimated that he took $15,000.

The couple both claimed to Detective Morgan that they hadn’t seen bank statements in a while. The fee hadn’t been paid on the league post office box, so they weren’t getting the bank statements.

Stewart allegedly told the detective that his wife was unaware of how much of the funds he used.

Jessica allegedly told board members previously there was $22,000 in the league bank account because that’s what Stewart had told her.

Receipts were allegedly given to another board member, not the treasurer. Stewart told Detective Morgan that’s because that other member handled all the deposits and got the money needed for concessions.