Spokane Police Investigating Theft From Non-Profit - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spokane Police Investigating Theft From Non-Profit

SPOKANE, Wash. – Two search warrants were filed Thursday by Spokane Police for access to bank records maintained by a Spokane Valley couple at the center of a theft investigation.

According to court documents, Martha and John Poffenroth are being investigated for allegedly improperly spending the River City Volleyball Club's money while they were the treasurer and director of the organization back in 2009. 

JoAnn Flaherty ran the club for 7 years, and says she and her husband built up a $10,000 cushion for the club that vanished when John Poffenroth took over in 2008.

"They weren't honest, and they weren't honest to the board about how they were using the money," Flaherty said.

Former President of the Board, Roberta Hartley, says they'd ask about financial records and were told everything was fine.

"It wasn't until toward the end of the season when another board member went in and found there was a receipt for a haircut," Hartley said.

But they say, it wasn't just a haircut.  Hartley says $20-30,000 was spent in total, on a number of personal expenses, including bar tabs, hotels, family vacations, Victoria's Secret clothing, golf rentals, and more.

"I was devastated," Hartley said.

They found Martha Poffenroth also wrote herself checks totaling $2,300 for accounting services, but they say everyone had agreed to volunteer.

"To let this go on an entire season because there was a trust - there's a trust when you spend this much time with people – you don't ever think anyone was going to steal.  You don't.  You just don't," Flaherty said.

They say, any given season, more than $100,000 would flow through the club from feed paid by the players themselves – money that was also set aside to scholarship those who wouldn't pay.

"The worst part about it was that they were actually stealing money out of the children's pockets," Hartley added.

She says the club has to pay up front for gym time and other expenses, and after this, they struggled to continue in the next season, but ultimately decided there was no choice but to shut down.

However, Martha and John Poffenroth both deny that the allegations.

Martha told KHQ she did write herself checks, but that she'd told the organization she wasn't going to work for free, and the board approved her pay.  John told KHQ he spent a few hundred dollars on personal expenses on the club's card, but that they reimbursed the club that $400, and he ‘had no idea' about the rest of the money.

There also may be a third woman, a former coach, who misused the club's money, although KHQ cannot confirm if she is being investigated.

No charges have been filed.

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