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Ex-booster accused of taking funds

LOGANVILLE - The new president of Grayson High's wrestling booster club is optimistic the group will recover after losing thousands of dollars in an alleged theft.

Takedown Club officers discovered in March the money was missing after receiving outstanding notices from bills they thought had been paid, president Sarah Isburgh said.

"We were expecting to have about $12,000 in our account. We had about $94," Isburgh said. "It was a huge surprise."

The booster club's former treasurer, Peter Matthew Casciano, was arrested March 24 on four counts of theft by taking. He is suspected of taking several thousand dollars and making unauthorized purchases that appeared to be personal in nature, according to a Gwinnett County school police report.

Casciano, 47, served as the Takedown Club's treasurer for two years, Isburgh said. No one questioned his spending, because the members all trust each other, she said.

"A lot of us have known Pete for many years," Isburgh said. "He's part of our wrestling family."

Isburgh said a tax attorney who inspected records estimated the group is missing $19,000, but she said some records are missing and the loss might be closer to $40,000.

The Takedown Club makes money through fundraisers such as a butcher's choice meat sale and by selling concessions and spirit wear. The group purchases uniforms and equipment for the wrestlers and pays tournament fees, Isburgh said.

As a result of the alleged theft, the group has installed new accounting practices. All purchases must now go through an approval process, and members will receive a statement monthly showing where the money has been spent.

"We don't want them (the wrestlers) to have to suffer for this," Isburgh said. "We're going to recover with a lot of help from the community."

Another school police report shows Parkview High's U.S. Marine Corps Junior ROTC also discovered an alleged theft in March.

The report states the group's former treasurer, Snellville resident Susan Kelly, obtained an ATM card and allegedly withdrew $15,000 from the group's account during a three-year period.