MEDINA, Ohio - A former Medina youth football coach pleaded guilty to stealing thousands of dollars in registration fees following an exclusive 5 On Your Side investigation.
Forty-seven-year-old Michael T. Butts, who was the founder and head coach of the Medina Bees youth football program, agreed to plead guilty to one count of theft involving cash raised from players and their families after a NewsChannel5 exclusive investigation in May 2011 raised questions about funds missing from the team's account.
Butts was indicted last January on three criminal counts, including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, theft and forgery.
In return for pleading guilty to the theft charge, prosecutors agreed to drop the remaining criminal charges during a hearing in Medina Common Pleas Court.
Parents of team members raised concerns when some players paid for uniforms they never received.
Despite raising thousands of dollars in registration fees, a review of court records found a series of unpaid bills totaling $27,000, a team credit card with unexplained charges and an $11,000 bounced check.
At least four vendors doing business with the team filed lawsuits for non-payment in Medina Municipal Court.
Our investigation also found that Butts had failed to filed federal income tax returns non-profit organizations as required by law.
Butts is scheduled for sentencing on Nov. 19, 2012 and could face 6 to 18 months in prison, although prosecutors concede he could be eligible to receive probation.