Sacramento Music Nonprofit Accuses Former President of Embezzlement

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An organization that's provided a creative outlet for Sacramento area musicians for 30 years is suddenly in serious financial trouble.

"Stunned, absolutely stunned, shocked," said Lester Lehr, founder of the Sacramento Valley Symphonic Band Association.

Lehr says it's embezzlement and someone he trusted to run the nonprofit is to blame.

"The person who had access to this was a friend of a lot of people in the bands, and so it was a betrayal, a deception," Lehr said.

Lehr showed FOX40 bank statements, which he says account for at least $50,000 of misused money.

"These are not band items. [it's] Taco bell, The Hilton Hotel in Chicago, Red Hawk Casino, that's a start"

The nonprofit provides services and funding to over a dozen community bands in the region.  With the organization's bank account nearly drained, those groups are now in jeopardy.

Lehr and other board members became suspicious after the organization's president failed to turn in financial reports.  He resigned almost three weeks ago.

FOX40 got a hold of him by phone and he had no comment.

Now Lehr and his team are trying to clean up this financial mess by fundraising and continuing to hold events.
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The Sacramento Sheriff's Department is investigating the case.  It's still early, investigators are not releasing the man's name, and charges have not been filed.

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