The Washington Times-Herald

Z_CNHI News Service

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
Z_CNHI News Service
  • sleepchart.jpg America’s sleep-deprived cities

    Americans might run on sleep, but those living in the country's largest cities don't appear to run on much.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Who should pay for your kids ACT?

    Thirteen states paid for 11th-grade students in all public high schools to take the ACT college admission test this year, with several more planning to join them in 2015.

    August 20, 2014

  • Pets.jpg Why do people look like their pets?

    As much as we might quibble over the virtues and vices of Canis domesticus, however, and over whether human nature is any better or worse than dog nature, even dog fanciers don't usually want to look like a dog.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Another stumble begs questions about Notre Dame

    Notre Dame's vaunted reputation for formidable athletics and serious academics is again sullied by a cheating scandal. Maybe the high standards of the Fighting Irish are just too good to be true.

    August 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ice bucket challenge trending up

    Internet trends are a dime a dozen these days. Everything from Tebowing to planking to the cinnamon challenge can cause a wave of social media activity that can last for weeks before fizzling out.

    August 19, 2014

  • Five myths about presidential vacations

    In the nuclear age, presidents may have only minutes to make a decision that could affect the entire world. They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go.

    August 15, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Debate filled with 'hate' gives Hamas a pass

    Political invective is dialed to the max, and everyone who disagrees is a "hater." But the hate police, who are so eager to cast labels, are ignoring the real wells of contempt in the Middle East.

    August 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg OU player's suspension shows pitfalls of addressing sexual assault on campus

    The University of Oklahoma's leading tackler is suspended for the season - or maybe not. Frank Shannon is still practicing with the Sooners amid a court battle over whether OU can discipline him after a sexual assault investigation. The tough issue of addressing assault on campus isn't just OU's problem.

    August 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can 6 seconds launch a career? A generation of Vine stars sure hopes so.

    A year ago, Shawn Mendes filmed himself singing a tentative acoustic cover of the Justin Bieber song "As Long as You Love Me" and put the results on Vine. He wasn't expecting much response. "I didn't really want anything to happen; I just kind of wanted to see what people would think," says Mendes, 16. "I posted that first Vine and woke up the next morning with 10,000 followers. That was pretty cool."

    August 14, 2014

  • Freshman.jpg 8 crucial tips for college freshmen

    With school starting back up around the country, no one has a bigger deer-in-the-headlights look than college freshmen.

    August 14, 2014 1 Photo