The Lawrence Eagle Tribune reports that Wakefield resident fifty-four year old James Potenza plead not guilty to a charge of larceny over $250.00 in the Haverhill District Court. According to the Tribune, Potenza was the treasurer of the Pentucket Youth Football League from June 2004 through March 2010. An investigation into the League's finances began after a number of unpaid invoices and bounced checks came to the attention of other board members. The prosecution is claiming that the investigation shows that Potenza took between $60,000.00 and $80.000.00. The case is set for June 7th for a pre-trial conference.
The charge of larceny of property over $250.00 is a felony with the potential of the defendant serving a state prison sentence in the event of a conviction. However, in view of the fact that Potenza has no criminal record it is unlikely that he will get a committed sentence. Although all of the facts are not known at this time, it appears that the prosecution will have to have a clear "paper trail" to pin the discrepencies on Potenza. To prove a larceny the Commonwealth must prove that Potenza took the money with the intent to permanently deprive the league of it. One potential defense may be to demonstrate that the defendant did not intend to keep any amount that the government can demonstrate he actually took. All elements of the crime must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.