MIDDLETON – Lake County Sheriff’s detectives usually have their hands full with drug and illegal weapons cases, often tied together. But once in a while they have to deal with the more mundane law enforcement matters, like trusted adults embezzling money from a children’s recreational program.
This case began over two years ago, when in May 2012 the Sheriff’s office received a complaint that Carol Ann Outen, 38 of Middletown, who was serving as the town’s Youth Football League treasurer, had failed to pay several outstanding bills. The complaint accused Outen of mismanaging funds while a member of the league’s volunteer board.
According to Steve Brooks of Lake County Sheriff’s office, the case was turned over to the major crimes unit, who acquired search warrants to investigate Outen’s personal and business accounts. They discovered evidence that in 2011 and early 2012, she had used funds from league fundraisers, ticket sales, and concessions to pay for her own personal assets.
Middletown California is at the southern end of Lake County, 17 miles south of Lower Lake, with a population under 1500. The youth football organization teaches kids from 7-years-old and up the fundamentals of the game and positions, and they often continue into Middletown High’s Mustangs. They play against teams from neighboring towns such as Lower Lake, Clear Lake, Kelseyville, Willits, Fort Bragg and others.
During the investigation, Outen admitted that in 2011 she was having financial problems, personally and business related. She stated that she used the football league’s checking account to cover her own account so her checks wouldn’t bounce. But she also claimed that there was no football money in any of her accounts, seemingly contradicting her own story. She also claimed that $10,000 in cash belonging to the Middletown Football League was stored in her personal home safe.
Detectives were able to determine, however, that he had transferred approximately $47,000.00 from the league into her personal accounts. As a culmination of their findings, Outen was arrested yesterday at 9 am at her home. She was booked at the Hill Road Correctional Facility on charges of grand theft and fraudulent use of a check. Her bail is set at $30,000, presumably not to be paid from any youth sports program accounts.