August 16, 2017
 
Former President of Peabody Nonprofit Admits to Theft

March 23, 2017 — The former president of a Peabody-based nonprofit that supports local youth football, appearing in Peabody District Court on Tuesday, admitted to stealing $27,712 from the organization to fund dinners, shopping trips, and credit card bills.

Jacqueline "Jacqui" Pence, 50, a Peabody resident, reportedly took funds from the Peabody Youth Football and Cheering Organization to finance dinners out, shopping trips, an Apple Watch, and to pay her credit card bills, according to a report in The Salem News.

The thefts occurred over three years, the paper reported police saying.

Peabody District Court Judge Richard Mori agreed to Pence's request for a continuation without a finding, although the prosecution asked that Pence be found guilty of felony larceny by single scheme, followed by a suspended jail term, The Salem News reported.

Mori reportedly explained that Pence offered to pay full restitution.

The paper noted, "If Pence pays the money (which she promised to turn over shortly after the hearing), completes 100 hours of community service, stays away from current league officials, continues to participate in psychotherapy for undisclosed 'multiple disorders,' and stays out of further legal trouble, the charge will be dismissed in two years."

Craig Masone, a coach affiliated with the nonprofit, said the restitution payments will help the organization get "back into the black financially," The Salem News reported.

According to the paper, "The case came to light last fall after several coaches grew increasingly frustrated at the lack of new equipment and complaints over unpaid invoices and went to Peabody police."

Lincoln Rose, the prosecutor, said the facts in the matter were "particularly egregious," as the funds were meant to support youth sports, The Salem News noted.

"She used Peabody Youth Football as a personal slush fund, and she left the organization on the brink of financial ruin," the paper quoted Rose.

Pence's lawyer, Paul Woods Jr., the paper reported, said she "has been struggling financially as a result of a divorce and the foreclosure of her home," adding that Pence had cooperated with investigating police.

For the year ending Dec. 31, 2015, the Peabody Youth Football and Cheering Organization reported $45,316 in revenue, of which came from membership dues and assessments, and $44,101 in expenses, according to its most recently available federal tax filing.

As of Jan. 11, the organization had $34,257 on hand, according to its check register posted on its website.

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