The man who stole $29,000 from the Chilliwack Giants youth football organization has pleaded guilty to fraud and is scheduled to be sentenced in November.
Charles Joshua Cahoon has, however, paid the money back, and a provincial court judge varied his bail conditions on Thursday (July 29) to allow him to attend Giants games played in by his three children.
Cahoon was originally charged with theft over $5,000 after it was revealed that he had written multiple cheques to himself while serving as volunteer treasurer on the Chilliwack Giants board.
The 41-year-old also served as vice-president on the board and had been involved in coaching.
And while the $29,000 has been paid back, the impact on the organization was much greater than that dollar amount because the club rely on B.C. Gaming Grants. The provincial government 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 stole,” a spokesperson for the Giants, who asked not to be named, said in 2020.
“We are just so incensed with this that we think everybody needs to know.”
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,” Chilliwack Minor Football Association (CMFA) president Drew Saunders wrote in a Jan. 6, 2020 emailed statement to parents. “At the time this was identified, our treasurer, Josh Cahoon resigned from the executive.”
Cahoon was arrested on Dec. 12, 2019 with the charge of theft over $5,000 approved by Crown on Jan. 2, 2020.
On June 29, 2021, Cahoon pleaded guilty to the more serious charge of fraud over $5,000.
The matter was in court on Thursday (July 29, 2021) due to what was described as a “procedural glitch” in that he was out of custody but he was not technically on bail. That was dealt with as both Cahoon and his lawyer Jayse Reveley attended via telephone.
Conditions of his bail included that Cahoon not go near any victims of the crime, which included Chilliwack Giants board members. Cahoon asked for this to be varied so that he could attend games played in by his three children.
Crown counsel John Lester opposed the bail variance, providing letters from parents of players who do not want Cahoon around at games.
But Judge Peter Whyte ruled there was no risk to the public of him committing a similar offence – fraud – at games, so the variance was reasonable. Cahoon will be required to stay 50 metres away from all people while in attendance.
This isn’t the first time Cahoon has stolen money from an organization. More than a decade ago, while working as an accountant for two organizations, he stole thousands of dollars from the Kamloops Wildlife Park Society and Valleyview Lands Limited Partnership, a company behind a housing development in Kamloops.
While he was stealing from those two different organizations he was on probation from a federal conviction for false pretence under $5,000.
He was sentenced to 12 months jail for the theft in Kamloops in 2009 while Crown counsel had been seeking two years in jail.
In sentencing Cahoon in 2009, Judge Russell MacKay said he was convinced “that based on his excellent compliance with his parole and his openness, his willingness to accept direction, and the changes that he has made to his life” that he was unlikely to reoffend.
As for the fraud against the Giants, Crown will be seeking jail time while Cahoon will ask for a conditional sentence order.
When the charges were first reported in January 2020, Cahoon contacted The Progress 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.
A pre-sentence report is scheduled in court for Nov. 4.
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