A former official of a Massachusetts youth football league who is accused of stealing $80,000 from the program has reportedly fled to the Middle East country of United Arab Emirates, which does not have an extradition agreement with the United States.
James Potenza, the former treasurer of the Pentucket Youth Football League, failed to show up for a conference last week ahead of his trial, which is scheduled to begin Oct. 10, the Salem News reports.
Potenza’s attorney, Michael Murphy, told the judge that Potenza is in Abu Dhabi because he “had trouble finding work” in the United States, according to the paper.
Law enforcement officials received a warrant for Potenza after his failure to appear in court, the Salem News reports.
Potenza, 55, was indicted last year on charges that he had obtained an unauthorized debit card that allowed him to make cash withdrawals from the league’s account.
Many of the withdrawals turned out to have been made on Cape Cod, where Potenza owned a summer home.
Potenza initially claimed that he’d made withdrawals to pay game officials, and denied using it for personal expenses. He also claimed that his family members may have inadvertently used the card.
But as Potenza was making those withdrawals, as far back as 2006 or 2007, the youth sports league, which serves youths in Groveland, West Newbury and Merrimac, was struggling financially, other officials told a judge during special conferences, the paper reported.