COLBERT, Ga. -- Two board members of a parent-led youth sports organization in Madison County were recently charged under the state’s racketeering law with stealing more than $10,000 from the association, authorities said Monday.
The arrests of Michael Wade Hawkes and Sherry Hawkes, both 40, of Colbert, follows a two-month investigation into the Madison County Youth Association’s finances, according to the Madison County Sheriff Kip Thomas. The couple was arrested last week and released on $5,600 bonds.
The investigation was prompted when other members of the association’s board went to the sheriff’s office to express concerns about discrepancies in the bank accounts, Chief Deputy Shawn Burns said.
The Hawkes were charged with violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act after investigators consulted with the district attorney’s office, Thomas said.
The Hawkes were both employed by the University of Georgia. Sherry Hawkes, an accountant in the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, was fired Monday, while her husband, a maintenance worker at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education, is on administrative leave while his case is reviewed, a spokesman for UGA said. The Hawkes were arrested on different days so their reviews occurred at different times, the spokesman said.
Investigators believe the Hawkes were using the money for personal reasons such as vacations, sporting events, gas and food, according to Thomas.