A man facing allegations that he collected close to $30,000 for a baseball clinic and youth traveling team that never materialized was arrested in Tennessee for driving with a suspended license.
Jason A. Anderson, 35, wanted in Pennington County for grand theft by deception, was arrested Thursday by Tipton County sheriff's deputies in Brighton, Tenn., who had approached Anderson's vehicle at about 12:10 a.m. for suspicious activity around his parked vehicle in the roadway, county public information officer Donna Turner said by phone Thursday. Brighton is about 30 miles northeast of Memphis, Tenn.
Two Pennington County warrants dated July 20 and Aug. 16 charged Anderson with a total of four counts of grand theft by deception, a Class 4 felony. Anderson allegedly obtained more than $1,000 from four Rapid City residents between March and early July and failed to "correct a false impression," according to the warrants. Total bond for the four counts is set at $32,500.
During the traffic stop, deputies confirmed Anderson's driver's license to be suspended for driving while impaired by liquor in Michigan, according to a press release from the Tipton County sheriff's office. Anderson is being held without bond at a county correctional facility, Turner said.
Anderson is facing extradition procedures for South Dakota and Florida. Pennington County State's Attorney Glenn Brenner said Thursday night that the state is seeking to bring Anderson back to face local charges.
"We are going to bring him back, and we will hold him responsible for these crimes," Brenner said.
Anderson is to appear in Tipton County court on Tuesday.
Anderson can choose to fight extradition at his Tuesday appearance, but Brenner said it would only hold up the process.
"If he wants to fight it, it might delay the proceedings," Brenner said. "But in the end, we'll be successful."
Rapid City police have said they believe Anderson arrived in the Rapid City area in March. The same month, Jason Herz, owner of The Batter's Box baseball clinic, said he had first contact with Anderson about a "Training with the Pros" baseball clinic.
The two-day event, advertised in fliers for players ages 5-18, said it would bring 20 major- and minor-league players and instructors to Rapid City. Herz said Anderson was asking for $18,500 toward T-shirts, fliers, player appearances and travel arrangements.
Herz filed a civil lawsuit July 13, accusing Anderson of collecting the $18,500 and failing to return it when the clinic, which was postponed several times, never occurred.
Ken Packwood and his wife, Vicki, alleged in a claim filed July 14 that Anderson collected $6,300 from them to place their 9-year-old son on Team South Dakota. The team, which was advertised for players ages 10-18, was scheduled to compete in multiple age groups in several tournaments over the summer in Texas, Tennessee, Florida and Washington. It was never formed, and Packwood claimed his family had been deceived.
Also filing a small claims case in July was Michelle Garnett, who said she gave Anderson $3,000 in multiple payments toward her 10-year-old son's placement on Team South Dakota. The cost was to include uniforms, travel arrangements and tournament fees.
Garnett said she remembers Anderson asking for sizes for uniforms and other clothing items for her son, and she said he would go through sprinting drills and workouts to enhance her son's pitching mechanics.
"You get caught in the middle, and you just want to do the best for your kid," she said.
Garnett said her frustration and sadness came to a head when she took her entire family to Mitchell for a tournament over the Fourth of July holiday. Expecting a bustling scene, all Garnett saw was a barren ball field.
The alleged deception wasn't limited to parents. Michael Baldwin, a pitcher this summer on Sturgis' American Legion team, also had contact with Anderson. Baldwin said he initially met Anderson through Herz and later had a throwing tryout with Anderson for an older age division squad of Team South Dakota.
Baldwin received positive reviews and was OK'd for the team. Baldwin said his family declined to give a specific amount, but he said his family paid in full what Anderson requested for team expenses. Baldwin later rejoined Sturgis' Legion squad for the end of the Legion season.
The names of Garnett and Baldwin's father, Dale, are listed as victims in the case, along with Ken Packwood and Heath Boetker.
Tipton County deputies confirmed Anderson has multiple active warrants in Michigan and Florida, according to the release. The warrant in Monroe County, Mich., was for failure to appear on a charge of obstructing justice, no account check. The release said the warrants in Florida were for 11 counts of uttering a forged instrument with a collective bond of $55,000. Michigan is not yet seeking Anderson's extradition on its charges, according to the release.
Contact Danny Lawhon at 394-8431 or Daniel.firstname.lastname@example.org