Man accused of 'stealing from the community' in scoreboard fraud cases

by Placerville Newswire / Jul 15, 2016 / comments

Cameron Park swim teams defrauded of thousands of dollars, community claims

CAMERON PARK, Calif. (KCRA) —During afternoon practice for the Sierra Sharks swim team in Cameron Park, swimmers prepared for their first meet against College Greens.

The times and winners should be posted on a new scoreboard that was paid for by hundreds of donations from the community.

"We work hard to raise what little money we can to put forth significant money to buy a purchase like this. And, to have it taken away is horrible," said Nick Storms, a father of swimmers on the Sierra Sharks.

After spending $12,000 in donated funds on a timing system, the team claims it was left high and dry.

"It happened to us,” said Bob Kott, who works with the Sierra Sharks. “We got caught unaware, and we wanted to get the story out.”

Kott placed the order for the scoreboard with a man he knew sold swimming equipment. His name is Dennis Boston.

“We knew Dennis well,” Kott said. “He's worked in the swim community for years.”

The scoreboard was supposed to arrive in time for the team's first swim meet last year. When it didn't come, Kott says the excuses began.

"He told me that the scoreboard had been damaged and was inoperable and asked if I wanted a refund or if I wanted to order a new one,” Kott said.

The team asked for a refund. When the check didn't come after several weeks, Kott got on the phone.

"He explained maybe it got lost in the mail, and he said he'd send another check,” Kott said.

Months later, a check did arrive.

"The check bounced,” Kott said. “And when you get that confirmation, it was my heart sinking and feeling very disappointed that we had been defrauded."

Word quickly spread through the tight-knit swim community. Kott learned more swim teams, like the Galt Gators, claimed to have had similar issues.

“We did all this work, fundraising to get a nice scoreboard and upgrade, and nobody can believe it. It's horrible,” said Kirk Smith, who works with the Gators.

Smith claims the Gators placed a scoreboard order with Boston for $8,000. They received one, but they said Boston then asked to borrow it. He then ended up giving it to another team to fulfill another order.

"Who could do that? You know, especially, when he has kids in the system,” Smith said.

"The most disappointing part is you trust someone like that, and then they let you down,” Kott said.

The Sierra Sharks filed a civil lawsuit and a judge sided with them, ordering Boston to pay more than $25,000 to the Sharks.

The team claims it still hasn’t been paid.

The team also filed a criminal report with the El Dorado County Sheriff's Department. Investigators recommended charges of fraud and handed the case to the district attorney’s office, where it's still being considered.

“We have an understanding now there are multiple counties where allegations have been made that are under investigation,” said Dave Stevenson, an investigator with the DA’s office. “We've requested those reports from other agencies to assist us with deciding if any criminal charges would be filed."

KCRA tried to ask Boston for his side of the story, but he didn't return any calls. KCRA also went to his home, but he wasn't there.

Meanwhile, the Sharks and Gators have been playing catch up financially. The communities came together to help both teams buy new scoreboards, but they're still not completely satisfied.

“You don't hurt other people to prop yourself up,” Kott said. “You can find ways to help yourself without harming others -- and this was really like stealing from the community.”