Massillon Man Accused of Misusing Funds from Youth Baseball Leagues
A Stark County man is facing a lawsuit on accusations he misused tens of thousands of dollars in charitable funds from the Massillon Little League and the Massillon Youth Baseball Association.
The lawsuit accuses Luther E. Copeland Sr. of violating Ohio’s charitable laws.
According to the lawsuit, Copeland ran Massillon Little League until 2016, when it stopped operating, and he incorporated Massillon Youth Baseball Association in April 2017. Investigators found that Copeland, who had control over the organizations’ bank accounts, diverted funds from the charities’ bank accounts into his own personal prepaid card account, then used the funds for personal expenses, including payments to an auto insurance company, a jewelry store, and casinos.
He is accused of misappropriating more than $25,000 since 2014.
“The defendant is accused of taking money from a youth baseball league and spending it at casinos,” Attorney General DeWine said. “The kids deserve better than that. We’re taking this action to hold this man accountable and to recover any charitable funds that were misused.”
In the lawsuit, filed in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, the Attorney General seeks restitution from Copeland and an order preventing him from incorporating, organizing, or serving in a fiduciary role for a nonprofit in Ohio. It also seeks to bring Massillon Youth Baseball into compliance with Ohio’s charitable laws and to properly dissolve Massillon Little League.
The lawsuit follows an investigation by the Ohio Attorney General’s Charitable Law Section, which enforces the state’s charitable laws and protects Ohio donors. Those who suspect a charity scam or questionable fundraising activities should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or 800-282-0515.