Weatherford Democrat

Online Only

September 18, 2013

Youth football league out $80K, accused thief 7,000 miles away

SALEM, Mass. — Fugitive James Potenza, by his own admission,  lives 7,000 miles from the county courthouse in this Boston suburb, enjoying the beaches and sunny skies of the Persian Gulf.

Potenza, 54, skipped out on a court date here one year ago on charges he embezzled $80,000 from a youth football league while serving as its trusted treasurer, withdrawing the money through an unauthorized debit card.

Authorities issued a warrant for his arrest, but his immediate whereabouts were a mystery -- until he began posting greetings and photos on Facebook, including a picture of himself atop a military tank somwhere in the United Arab Emirates.

"7,000 miles away, in the U.A.E.," Potenza said in a Nov. 8, 2012, posting on Facebook. "Just got back from the beach, 84 degrees."

Six weeks ago, in a reponse to a friend's inquiry on Facebook, he wrote that he was in "the Middle East" but didn't say where.

Michael Murphy, Potenza's attorney in the embezzlement case, said his client had been working as a contractor  in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the Emirates, earning money to pay restitution to the youth football league police said he fleeced.

An old listing for Potenza on LinkedIn, a social network for professionals, said he had worked for Adverti STS, an engineering school in the Emirates, since August of 2012. There is no current posting for Potenza on LinkedIn.

Prosecutors said Potenza sold a home he owned in Massachusetts before he fled the country, and that he's possibly living off the proceeds. They said they are working with the U.S. State Department to find him and return him to face trial on the embezzlement charges.

Initially, Potenza claimed he withdrew the money from the youth league's account to pay game officials. But, prosecutors said,  when negotiations broke off for his making restitution and serving probation in lieu of prison time, he took off for parts then unknown.

---

Details for this story were provided by The Eagle-Tribune of North Andover, Mass., and the Salem, Mass., News.

1
Text Only
Online Only
  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 18, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 18, 2014

  • Screen shot 2014-04-18 at 4.44.15 PM.png Paint, doodle and sketch: 3 apps for art lovers

    In the absence of a palette of watercolors and a sketchpad, these three apps can fill in as your art supplies of choice.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

  • VIDEO: Boston bomb scare defendant appears in court

    The man accused of carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker near the Boston Marathon finish line on the anniversary of the bombings was arraigned Wednesday. He's being held on $100,000 bail.

    April 17, 2014

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 16, 2014

  • portraitoflotte.jpg VIDEO: From infant to teen in four minutes

    Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester’s time lapse video of his daughter, Lotte — created by filming her every week from her birth until she turned 14 — has become a viral sensation.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 12.51.22 PM.png VIDEO: Toddler climbs into vending machine

    A child is safe after climbing into and getting stuck inside a claw crane machine at a Lincoln, Neb., bowling alley Monday.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video