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Coach Scandal That Cost Schools Hundreds of Thousands Now in D.A.'s Hands

The Orange County Sheriff's Department has finished its investigation into whether local football coaches broke the law when an athletics equipment set up a private account for them.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department has finished its investigation into a kickback scheme that embroiled local high school coaches and has handed its report to the District Attorney’s office.

The stem from the second owners of a now-defunct athletic equipment company, who discovered the first owners of Lapes Athletic Sales in Laguna Hills set up special “slush-fund accounts” for coaches across Southern California.

As parents made purchases from the company, a portion of the proceeds went into the coaches’ accounts, owners Teresa and Geoff Sando have said.

The has , Eric Patton of San Clemente High, Chi Chi Biehn of Mission Viejo's Capistrano Valley High; and Brent Melbon of Dana Point's Dana Hills High.

No conclusion has been reached about the role of Saddleback Valley Unified coaches in the scheme. According to a district spokesperson, the investigation into possible kickbacks at Saddleback is ongoing.

Sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino said his department has finished looking into the matter and has handed off his report to DA’s office within the last week.

“Our investigators report the facts and then turn it over to the DA. It’s up to the DA to decide whether to pursue any charges,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the DA’s office confirmed the Sheriff's Department turned over the report recently. 

"We're reviewing all the information. I don't have a timeline yet," Farrah Emami said. "We can't discuss what's in the report."

Capo Unified hired its own private investigator to look into the charges the Sandos lodged against the coaches and . It painted a picture of bribery, theft and conspiracy.

The documents say the district lost "hundreds of thousands of dollars, with a significant amount of the loss going to the coaches."

Oracle March 23, 2012 at 07:37 PM
If the DA declines prosecution, then CUSD will lose even more credibility with the public, which they can ill afford, so they'll be pushing hard right or wrong. There's sure a lot of rumor flying around on this case, I'd love to see some cold, hard numbers: who got how much and when?
OC SPORTS MOM March 25, 2012 at 12:46 AM
Matt, I am wondering if you have viewed the SoCal PBS report that broke this story last spring? Hopefully you can still find it on their website and view the full story. I was surprised to see televised the numerous checks cleared from the bank that had been made out to "Patton Family Members" ( both men & women), for amounts just under the IRS reporting minimum. Some checks were dated Dec. 24th of one of the years in question. What a nice holiday bonus from Lapes Atheltic to the extended Patton family. If any monies were to be "returned" to the SCHS football program they should have been made out to their Booster Club, don't you think???
OC SPORTS MOM March 25, 2012 at 02:08 AM
http://video.pbssocal.org/video/1909678048 here is the link to the original PBS story...about the 4 min. timer is where you will be able to pause and view the names of Patton Family members and the amounts they received, keep watching though, and you will be able to see the transcript of Coach Patton's testimony in the civil case the new owners filed against the previous owner of Lapes. All in all the entire 11 min. are very telling about the kickbacks numerous coaches around the state received. I'm very interested if you'll still feel the same way about the vindication of Coach Patton after the "facts" are viewed by you or anyone else interested in this case.
Matt Gaffney March 27, 2012 at 04:44 PM
I saw the PBS video & have read every article pertaining to this witch hunt. I also addressed the Board at a meeting. I just believe that when the DA finishes sorting out this sham of an investigation conducted by that pinhead Farley & his henchmen Eric Patton will be thoroughly vindicated. Farley's spent a lot of district money & time conducting this witch hunt. The board has swallowed his BS hook, line & sinker. People should remember this fiasco come November.
mommeee March 28, 2012 at 07:44 PM
What about the assistant coaches? Hard to believe the assistant coaches were completely in the dark.

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