Allegations that local high school and college coaches received nearly $700,000 in kickbacks from a sporting goods company is now the subject of a special investigation by the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
Sheriff's Department spokesman Jim Amormino told Patch on Monday morning that an economic crimes expert has begun looking into the alleged kickbacks—prompted by a in May—upon request from Orange County Superintendent of Schools Bill Habermehl.
"Financial crimes are usually a lengthy investigation," Amormino said, explaining that the investigator will have to sift through voluminous bank records looking for financial impropriety.
It is alleged that between 2000 and 2008, the Laguna Hills-based Lapes Athletic Team Sales put nearly $700,00 in taxpayer money into secret slush funds, some of which was given directly to coaches, according to records uncovered by Teresa and Geoff Sandos, an Irvine couple who took over the now defunct company.
The Sandos say the records show coaches from the were among the biggest money-makers. Coaches at , , Dana Hills High School, and were all involved, according to the Sandos.
Voice of OC reports that Habermehl sent a letter last week to Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, asking her to "thoroughly investigate" the allegations of wrongdoing and complete the investigation "as soon as possible."
The financial records had also been obtained by PBS SoCal, which reported coaches from Tesoro High, San Clemente High, Aliso Niguel High, Capistrano Valley High, El Toro High and Saddleback College were all involved.
To read the full story, click here.