A volunteer board member with the Chilliwack Giants is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the youth football organization.
Charles Joshua Cahoon – who goes by Josh – is charged with one count of theft over $5,000 from Jan. 5, 2018. Cahoon had his first appearance to face the charge in Chilliwack provincial court on Tuesday.
The 40-year-old had been serving as the treasurer for the Giants, prior to which he was the vice-president on the board, and had been involved in coaching.
A spokesperson for the organization who asked not to be named said the amount allegedly stolen was more than $20,000, but because the Giants receive B.C. Gaming Grants, the impact was much greater. The provincial government, understandably he noted, did not approve grants for 2018 and 2019 while the matter was under investigation.
“The absence of those grants hurt us to the tune of even more money than he [allegedly] stole,” he said.
“We are just so incensed with this that we think everybody needs to know.”
In an emailed statement dated Jan. 6 to the “Chilliwack Giants Family” that was forwarded to The Progress, Chilliwack Minor Football Association (CMFA) president Drew Saunders said the discrepancies in the club’s financial statements were discussed back in August 2018, at which time the RCMP were investigating.
“Specifically, there was a substantial amount of money that was unaccounted for, and the executive was not able to provide details during the course of the investigations,” Saunders wrote. “At the time this was identified, our treasurer, Josh Cahoon resigned from the executive.”
Saunders said Cahoon was arrested on Dec. 12, 2019, with the charge approved by Crown on Jan. 2, 2020.
“Although a terrible situation, the Chilliwack Giants are pleased with the progress of the investigation so far, and look forward to accountability and justice for the players and families of the CMFA,” according to his email. “We will continue operations, ensuring that Chilliwack is a fun, safe, exciting place to play football. We also appreciate that this is a sensitive matter amongst family members, including players still playing in our association, and will let the criminal justice system deal with this matter.”
He added that the Giants have put safeguards in place to prevent a similar theft from happening again.
Most shocking to many involved is that Cahoon has done this before. In May 2009, he was convicted of two counts of fraud for incidents in 2006 and 2007 where he stole money while doing accounting work for the Kamloops Wildlife Park Society.
He was sentenced to 12 months jail, two years probation and ordered to pay $7,500 in restitution to the society.
In the written decision on sentencing from Sept. 17, 2009, Judge Russell MacKay pointed to testimony from his parole officer, suggesting that he was on the right track.
“Mr. Cahoon no longer gambles,” he wrote. “This was identified as the root difficulty for him that led to all of these unfortunate and unhappy encounters with the criminal law. He has taken counselling. He has no access to other people’s money at this point in time.”
Cahoon contacted The Progress after this story was posted online to say that he was concerned about the effect the publicity about the criminal charges will have on his children.
“My children are deeply involved in this football community,” he said.
When asked if he would comment on the charges or his conviction from Kamloops, Cahoon declined.
The spokesperson for the Giants said the whole matter has been challenging for the sports organization, with the executive and other adults trying not to let it have an affect on the kids on the field.
“It’s not a kids matter, but in the same instance we want to tell our children that they should be held accountable.”
Cahoon is next due in court on Jan. 28.
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