A club basketball coach who promised weekends of tournaments, personalized jerseys and cookie dough for fundraising took parents’ money and didn’t deliver, authorities say.
Jermaine Haynie, 33, was charged Thursday with theft by deception, a felony that carries a maximum of two years in prison. He was ordered held on $10,000 bail, meaning that he would need to post 10 percent, or $1,000, to be released from jail.
Haynie ran basketball programs called the Omaha Celtics and Midwest Huskers Elite, according to websites, social media pages and police reports filed by five parents. Prosecutor Anthony Clowe said Haynie created a fake email account to cover up his lies and stole a total of $3,215 from 12 parents in 2018.
Assistant Public Defender Cathy Saathoff said Haynie has been in contact with Omaha police detectives and provided receipts for tournaments.
But one mother, who spoke on the condition that she not be named, said her son played in only one tournament, although Haynie promised weekend tournaments for two to three months. The woman paid $135 to Haynie that was intended for her son’s team enrollment and jerseys.
Two other parents who filed police reports said they paid $135, in one case, and $190, in the other, for uniforms and warmups. Haynie explained to one parent that the clothing arrived without names on it and he had to send it back. He told another parent that he returned the jerseys because the sizes weren’t correct. The parents said they never received anything.
Parents also told police that they had collected money for fundraisers but never received the goods.
Three parents said they gave Haynie $320, $112 and $96 each for a cookie dough fundraiser, but the cookie dough never arrived. A woman told officials that Haynie created a fake invoice and email telling her the money would be refunded, then cut off communication with her in August.
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Another person gave $200 to Haynie for a shoot-a-thon fundraiser event that never happened. And two more paid $175 and $50 for a coupon-book fundraiser that was meant for game and practice court costs, but nothing came of it, according to a police report.
The mother who spoke to The World-Herald said she hopes that Haynie is prosecuted fully and won’t be able to scam other parents in the future.
“It wasn’t about the money; it was that he truly hurt those kids. They were so excited to play basketball, and he screwed them all over,” she said. “It was pretty crappy that he did what he did.”