VERNON TOWNSHIP — The former president of a northern Crawford County youth athletic program has been charged by police with taking more than $2,300 from it.

Travis J. Porter, 44, of 557 S. Main St., Cambridge Springs, was arraigned Friday before Magisterial District Judge Lincoln Zilhaver in Vernon Township on one count each of theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property.

According to court documents, Porter is alleged to have taken the money between July 9, 2018, and Feb. 23 of this year while serving as president of Cambridge Area Athletic Association. The association runs Little League baseball and softball programs in the Cambridge Springs and Venango areas.

Each count is a third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and a $25,000 fine if convicted.

According to court documents, the investigation was triggered after Eugene Pabon, the association's vice president, went to withdraw money from its checking account at Mercer County State Bank on March 2 to have change during baseball and softball signups, but he was told there was only $4.34 in the account.

The investigation found unauthorized purchases for a Hulu account in Porter's name as well as online retailer Amazon and other purchases, according to the arrest affidavit.

Hulu is a subscription video on demand service owned by the Walt Disney Co. 

In an interview with state police Thursday, Porter admitted to making a total 14 unauthorized purchases and automated teller machine withdrawals totaling $2,099.98 between June 2018 and February of this year, the arrest affidavit said.

Asked about ATM withdrawals and purchases in January and February of this year, "The $500, I had bills to pay, honestly," Porter told police, according to the affidavit.

Porter also admitted to keeping $255 in cash from signup fees on a registration day Feb. 23, according to the affidavit.

Contacted Friday by the Tribune, Pabon said the Cambridge Springs and Venango communities came together to get uniforms printed to keep the program running when the alleged theft was discovered.

There were 175 children involved this year in the association's youth baseball and softball programs for kids ages 5 to 14, according to Pabon.

Porter was released on $2,500 unsecured bond. He faces a preliminary hearing on the charges Aug. 23. 

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

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