BAKER, LA (WAFB) - Baker Police arrested a man accused of stealing thousands from a club where he was a member.
Michael Puckett, 33, of Baton Rouge was arrested and charged with felony theft for taking $5,080 from the Baker Lions Club without its consent.
Police conducted a theft investigation after the Baker Lions Club submitted a complaint that club funds had been misappropriated by its treasurer. Puckett allegedly cashed an unauthorized written bank check.
The original complaint was submitted on December 8, but was requested that it only be documented by police so the club could address the issue with the bank.
Detectives were contacted again on February 8 after the club was not paid back for the theft. The group told police that the money was taken without its consent and requested police investigate the matter.
The club gave police documents from its bank account which listed Puckett's name on it. Police were shown two copies of bank checks written out for cash to Puckett that totaled $3,500. One check was written for $2,400 on September 2 and another was written for $1,180 on January 22.
The Baker Lions Club told police that all checks written by the club are made out to specific people or groups and are not written for cash. During the investigation, police were able to verify this with other written club checks which also had double signatures and notes about why the checks were written, while the two checks in question had neither on them.
Police also found three online banking withdrawals from around August through December in 2015. Each withdrawal from the club's bank was for $500 and was sent to another account, which investigators found out was in Puckett's name. However, officials with the club said they had not authorized to add online banking to the club's account. Bank representatives told police that Puckett had set up the online banking feature.
According to the club, Puckett is a current member, but had been inactive for several months.
The club officials told police they had unsuccessfully attempted to reach Puckett several times over the phone and the club did not owe him any money nor had it been asked for any reimbursements by Puckett.
Police were able to get a still photo from the bank where one of the checks was cashed. The white male in the photo was later positively identified by club officials as Puckett.
After being arrested, police say Puckett admitted to using the money to pay his rent and utilities.
Puckett was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. No bond has been set as of yet.