The executive vice president of the Miami-Dade Xtreme Youth Football League reacted to allegations that its treasurer embezzled nearly $50,000 in league funds.
Guillermo "Willie" Chacon turned himself in to Miami-Dade police on Tuesday. He was charged with second-degree grand theft, eight counts of uttering forged instruments, and organized fraud.
"I'm outraged like anyone else because at the end of the day, there's so many ideas that we wanted to incorporate this year for the kids and obviously now we're back to square one," said Damien Sosa, executive vice president of the Miami-Dade Xtreme Youth Football League. "There's lines that are crossed that you can never get back, so to me, this is one of them, the trust issue."
According to an arrest affidavit, from August 2011 through December 2012, Chacon embezzled $49,993 from the league by making cash withdrawals from the league's JPMorgan Chase bank account.
Each month, Chacon provided the league's executive board with fraudulent bank account statements, police say.
Eddy Arza and Chacon played or coached against each other for nearly 40 years. They remained friends the entire time.
"I don't know what drove Willie to do this because Willie has dedicated his whole life to kids," said Arza. "I was shocked. I couldn't believe it."
Arza said he remember giving money to Chacon for the league.
"To have that personal interaction and giving him money and to hear in your (John Turchin's) report yesterday that apparently some of that money came from those two weekends," said Arza, "everybody knows how the economy is and they gave their hard-earned money to watch their kids play thinking that that money was going to pay for the event and other things that the Xtreme League does a good job doing, and to hear this, that's when it was a personal blow."
Arza said he hopes that if the charges are true, Chacon admits to his wrongdoing.
"It would be great for Willie's healing, for his family, for him to say, 'Here it is. I'm giving it back.' If I take your wallet, your cash, at least I'm giving it back. You'll still be mad at me but at least I give it back to you," said Arza. "If there's any way -- if the money's sitting anywhere and he can find a way in his heart to say 'here it is back,' at least that could start the healing process."
"The biggest issue here is who can you trust, especially with finances now, and with the kids? What can you do?" said Sosa. "Everybody from parents in the league to commissioners to everybody is now on their tippy toes about wow, you know, if this happened, what can we expect in the future."
Sosa said Chacon was appointed treasurer because of past problems with the league's accounting practices.
"Everybody has awakened and everybody is getting more involved and in order to prevent this is people being more proactive than reactive," added Sosa.
Rich Raphael, the president of the Miami-Dade Xtreme Youth Football League, wrote a letter to park commissioners, saying in part: "A theft report was immediately filed, and all accounts associated with Mr. Chacon were closed and new accounts have been opened. Furthermore, Mr. Chacon has been suspended from his duties as treasurer subject to a formal removal hearing, and I have appointed Mr. Jesus Palacios as the interim treasurer pending further investigation."
Chacon ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Miami city commission in 2009. He bonded out of jail Thursday.