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By Steve Urbon
Standard-Times senior correspondent
August 09, 2008 6:00 AM

WAREHAM - Former high school athletic director Harold "Buddy" Carlson stood without an attorney in District Court Friday afternoon to answer charges that he embezzled an estimated $36,000 in football ticket receipts over a 10-year period.
Although the accusations are several months old, Mr. Carlson, 59, was unaccompanied by a lawyer.
Wearing a black polo shirt and khakis, he leaned forward in the arraignment dock, straining to hear. The court set a pre-trial date of Sept. 9 and released him on his own recognizance. After detectives made two unsuccessful attempts to find Mr. Carlson at home, he had turned himself in at the courthouse Friday morning, police said.
Later, as he reviewed his case documents in the clerk's office, accompanied by an unidentified young man, Mr. Carlson declined to answer questions when approached by The Standard-Times, saying his lawyer should answer any questions.
Asked how to reach the attorney he named in court, James McMahon, Mr. Carlson said, "I don't want to tell you that."
An arrest warrant was issued for Mr. Carlson, who was athletic director for 14 years, on Aug. 6 after the police took up the matter.
In May, Mr. Carlson already had been fired by the School Department and made restitution, although the amount of money was not revealed then.
The arrest warrant application by police indicated that, for the past three years, none of the gate receipts from football games were deposited in the Athletic Department's bank account. In all, there were 24 separate shortages, 15 in the last three years alone.
In prior years, according to court documents, deposits were made after some games but not all of them. But the amounts listed on the reports were only about one-third to one-half of the gate receipts estimated by ticket takers and school officials. At an estimated $3,000 per game the last three seasons alone would easily account for the full $36,000.
The document explained that ticket sellers would record the starting and ending serial numbers on the spools of numbered tickets at the games and submit tally sheets along with the cash in manila envelopes. These were then given to Mr. Carlson.
Police interviewed Marie Ferreira, who was Mr. Carlson's live-in fiancee, who related one instance in 2007 in which a metal cash box was placed in her car and brought home where Mr. Carlson counted the money on the kitchen table, depositing an unknown amount at Eastern Bank the next day.
But there were no deposits recorded for the 2007 season, and police said the tally sheet documentation has disappeared. "Nothing was located," they said.
One ticket taker said she understood that Mr. Carlson was an avid Lottery player.
Questioned about one incident of missing funds, police said Mr. Carlson said the money was placed into a drawer in the office and was stolen. He didn't report it "because he was afraid," was the explanation. Asked about another instance, Mr. Carlson declined to answer any further, police said.
The report indicated that the School Department noticed the missing funds when the Athletic Department ran out of cash to pay its bills.
Police said Mr. Carlson reimbursed the town with $27,000 in accumulated job benefits and $3,000 of his own funds.
The embezzlement charge is a felony that could bring five years in state prison, two years in county prison and/or a $25,000 fine.

http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080809/NEWS/808090316
 
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