By Denise Dick
The former treasurer of the Poland Swim Club will be on probation for five years after pleading guilty to taking about $24,000 from the organization.
Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court sentenced Brad A. Sackella on Friday. The judge also ordered Sackella to spend 120 days on electronic home monitoring at Sackella’s expense.
Judge Krichbaum said he only considers probation in such cases if the defendant makes full restitution. Sackella presented a check to the club, through his attorney, Robert Rohrbaugh, in court.
“I owe a lot of people an apology,” Sackella told the judge.
He said he’s lived his life trying to give back and didn’t become the club’s treasurer to harm the organization.
Rohrbaugh said Sackella, who doesn’t have a criminal record, regrets his actions.
“He found himself between a rock and a hard place and did something completely out of character,” he said.
Rohrbauch and Martin Desmond, an assistant county prosecutor, both favored probation.
Atty. David “Chip” Comstock, who represents the club, said he appreciates the work of law enforcement on the case and that the club recovered the money.
“However, the restitution that was paid today did not recover all of our losses,” he added.
The club has had to pay late tax-filing fees and loan interest, and Sackella didn’t pay his own club dues.
Comstock said the club is pursuing a civil lawsuit to recover those funds from Sackella and others.
Brad Sherman, vice president of operations for the club, said Sackella repaid $9,500 of what he took from club coffers before it was discovered missing.
Authorities have said Sackella took the money to start an accounting firm.
When club officials started to suspect problems because of late fees and less money in club accounts, they suspended Sackella and started investigating. Their findings were turned over to Poland Township police last summer.
Sackella, who had served as treasurer since 2009, was fired last year. He remains a club stockholder.
The club on Clingan Road includes about 800 members, and Sherman said they’ve been supportive throughout the investigation and court proceedings.