NEW PALESTINE, Ind. — The former president of a youth football booster club has been charged with theft after investigators say he misused thousands of dollars from the non-profit to pay his bills, as well as GrubHub food delivery and fast food orders.
A probable cause affidavit indicates the investigation began in April after Paul Gable was asked if tax documents were ready for The New Palestine Grid Iron Alliance.
Court documents show Gable “immediately” sent the following email as a response to the inquiry:
Good evening. Effective immediately, I am resigning from my post as president of the NPGIA as a result of misuse of funds for personal use. Nobody else was involved nor did anyone know what was happening. I will work with [redacted] on a transfer of power and a dollar amount that I would like to make restitution on through a payment plan over the next few months.
I sincerely apologize to each and every one of you and exit in total embarrassment for myself, my family and with all of you.
When first questioned by a board member about how much money he spent, Gable reportedly said he was not sure but estimated around $5,000.
The remaining board members agreed to pursue criminal charges and presented the New Palestine Police Department with several months worth of bank statements, as well as a spreadsheet that outlined more than a year’s worth of purchases on the Grid Iron Alliance’s debit card account.
The court documents indicate 537 total transactions were shown on the spreadsheet, dating from March of 2021 to May of 2022. Investigators say of the 537, only 38 were vetted by a booster club leader as being legitimate expenses for the organization. They say 484 purchases were deemed for Gable’s personal use. The remaining 14 purchases could not be determined either way.
New Palestine police say the bank statements show purchases were made at several fast food restaurants and for Grub Hub food delivery.
The funds were also used to pay accounts for Rush-Shelby Rural Electricity, Verizon Wireless, and a car loan for Toyota Financial, according to investigators. Those accounts are all believed to be tied to Gable personally.
“The total dollar amount of unauthorized purchases with the debit cards was deemed to be $21,574.87,” reads the affidavit.
The Grid Iron Alliance also sold discount gift cards as part of a fundraiser. Those cards could only be bought with cash. There was no record of Gable depositing the cash, so investigators say it’s likely he used that money as well.
The missing cash increases the total amount of funds tied to Gable’s misuse to $27,319.37, according to court documents.
Police also investigated another person who had access to the debit cards, a treasurer who resigned around the same time Gable did. They determined his card had been deactivated during the time the unauthorized purchases were made.
The Grid Iron Alliance posted a statement on its Facebook page in response to the investigation, which said in part:
As a board, we share in our community’s disappointment and anger that a board member in a position of trust has allegedly misappropriated GIA funds. The remaining members of our board are committed to executing the GIA’s mission in a clear, transparent, and effective manner. The GIA board has sought an independent audit of the GIA’s finances in an effort to begin rebuilding what has been lost.
The New Palestine Grid Iron Alliance raises funds for the high school, middle school, and cadet football programs in New Palestine.