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
  • 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

  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 15, 2014

  • E-Cigarettes target youth with festivals, lawmakers say

    The findings, in a survey released Monday by members of Congress, should prod U.S. regulators to curb the industry, the lawmakers said. While e-cigarettes currently are unregulated, the Food and Drug Administration is working on a plan that would extend its tobacco oversight to the products.

    April 15, 2014

  • bomb1 VIDEO: A year after marathon bombing, Boston remains strong

    The City of Boston came together Tuesday to honor those who were injured and lost their lives at the Boston Marathon on the one-year anniversary of the bombing. While the day was sure to be emotional, those affected by last year's race are showing they won't let the tragedy keep them down.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 4.02.29 PM.png VIDEO: Nebraska prom mishap goes viral

    A group of 22 high school students from Pierce, Neb., all decked out in prom finery, took an unplanned dip in a four-foot-deep pond when the bridge they were posing on for pictures gave way. Photos from the incident have gone viral on social media.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Stepping forward: The real Colbert

    Letterman changed the late-night TV game between his run on NBC's "Late Night" and starting the "Late Show" franchise in 1993. And while it's tough to replace a pop-culture icon, Colbert, in terms of pedigree and sense of humor, makes the most sense.

    April 12, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Obama's equal pay exaggeration leads us all into danger

    The president's claims of national shame over gender-based pay inequity spring from distorted calculations, as well as some convenient political math.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
Raw: Royal Couple Visits Australia Mountains Raw: Pro-Russian Militants Killed on Base Captain of Sunken South Korean Ferry Apologizes Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing Raw: Blast at Tennessee Ammunition Plant Kills 1 Hoax Bomb Raises Anxiety in Boston Egypt Clamps Down on Mosques to Control Message After Fukushima, Japan Eyes Solar Power New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Ex-California City Leader Gets 12 Year Sentence Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?