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'They stole from the children': President and VP of youth baseball league accused of fraud

Deputies claim Larry Blevins and John Sprague stole a combined total of more than $55,000 from the Lakeland Highlands Babe Ruth Baseball League.
Credit: Polk County Sheriff's Office
Larry Blevins (left), John Sprague (right)

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — "This is one of the highest thefts from a sports league in Polk County that I can remember. This is truly shocking behavior. Stealing from kids and parents -- just terrible, “ said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

Deputies claim the president and vice president of Lakeland Highlands Babe Ruth Baseball league both defrauded the organization. An investigation into the activities of 41-year old Larry Blevins and 39-year old John Sprague began back in Sept. 2018.

According to a media release, the probe was sparked by a review of previous financial statements by the league’s new board members. The sheriff’s office says that review uncovered "discrepancies."

Blevins and Sprague are accused of obtaining debit cards connected to the league’s BB&T bank accounts and making personal purchases. Deputies say the purchases were made at Walmart, 7-Eleven, Publix, Amazon, Burger King, Facebook, Sunoco – and ATM withdrawals. Detectives say they were also paying off personal bills

The release states that between August 2017 and September 2018, Blevins stole more than $30,000. He was arrested on Nov. 4.

Sprague is accused of stealing more than $25,000. He was arrested on Nov. 5.

"My anger is unending for these folks because they stole from the children," Sheriff Judd said.

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