CLERMONT — Lake County Deputies arrested the South Lake Little League’s former secretary after a nearly 1-year long investigation into allegations of stealing funds from the league’s bank account.
Detectives with the Clermont Police began their investigation into the allegations against Leia Drew after receiving complaints from the league’s board members stating that they believed Drew had stolen over $20,000 from the league’s account while acting as secretary on the board.
Board members first became aware of the missing funds during a board meeting held in May 2018. During the meeting, the then league president, Bernie Drew, stated that the league had no money to pay any bills.
After the meeting, board members requested that Bernie Drew provide the league’s bank statements to determine where the money went.
While reviewing the statements, one board member found that the money was spent using Bernie Drew’s league-issued bank card and contacted Bernie and said that he and his wife Leia, who at that time was the league secretary, needed to explain to the board where the money went.
At a following board meeting, Bernie told the other board members that he had just discovered that his wife had a prescription drug problem and had been using the account without his knowledge. Bernie also reportedly asked the board members not to involve police and to allow him to repay the missing funds by making monthly payments.
Board members later voted Bernie and Leia off the board and also voted to file a police report stating that they were not going to accept monthly payments for a crime.
After being voted off of the board, Bernie and Leia were asked to return their keys as well as, the league issued laptop issued to every league president.
When the board members received the laptop, they noticed that the laptop had been completely reset removing all league documents including bank statements, league forms, releases, and other important documents.
During their interviews with the Clermont Police detectives, some board members reported that on one occasion in January 2018, Leia entered one of the leagues concession stands and entered the safe to make change for the register then removed nearly $3,000 from the safe stating that she was going to deposit the money.
After reviewing the league’s bank statements and Leia’s bank statements, investigators discovered that there were no deposits to the league account during that time period, however, a $2,600 deposit was found on Leia’s account just two weeks after the incident at the concession stand.
Detectives worked closely with board members to collect receipts, bank transactions, and surveillance footage from various stores and ATMs. During thier investigation, Leia was seen in footage from each surveillance video using the league’s bank card to make personal purchases such as groceries, gas, gift cards, and ATM withdrawals.
Investigators also subpoenaed Bernie Drew’s bank account and found no suspicious activity to indicate he was involved or aware of the missing money.
During their investigation, detectives managed to link transactions totaling $13,949.90 to Leia Drew.
An arrest warrant was issues for Leia’s arrest on February 20, 2019 for grand theft.
Leia was arrested Tuesday night and released a couple of hours later after posting a $2,000 bond.