Two former Pataskala Lions Club treasurers have been charged with grand theft for stealing thousands of dollars from their club.
Jack Abram and Cheryl Hagy were each indicted on 4th degree grand theft charges.
"We spend so much time and energy and effort into helping the community and, you know, to learn this has happened is very, very difficult for us all,” said Pataskala Lions board member Sarah McGuire.
She says the club filed police reports about a year ago after they became aware of the missing money.
McGuire would not disclose how much Cheryl Hagy and Jack Abram are accused of stealing during their time in office, but their indictments reveal it was at least $7500 each.
"I think my reaction and the majority of the board was just shock,” McGuire said.
McGuire says the club makes donations to the Southwest Licking youth baseball and football programs in addition to area food pantries and other charitable causes.
With at least $15,000 gone, she says the club has cut back.
"It did impact a lot of our donations that we would have normally made. More importantly, it stopped us from seeking other areas of need in our community,” McGuire said.
Now McGuire says her club is encouraging other service organizations to protect their money.
The Pataskala Lions Club hosted a training event with the Attorney General's office to help other organizations prevent similar theft problems.
McGuire says they learned to be more diligent by adopting practices such as requiring two signatures on checks and holding the treasurer more accountable.
"Just looking at the records--it's just as simple as that. You know, because you'll see it right away. Or if they're unwilling to show you records, it's a huge red flag,” McGuire said.
Neither the Pataskala police nor the Licking County prosecutor's office would comment on the charges because they say the investigation is ongoing.