ORANGE PARK – A 36-year-old organizer of a nonprofit cheerleading squad was arrested after the Clay County Sheriff’s Office said she stiffened more than $20,000, but less than $100,000 of the …
ORANGE PARK – A 36-year-old organizer of a nonprofit cheerleading squad was arrested after the Clay County Sheriff’s Office said she stiffened more than $20,000, but less than $100,000 of the team’s funds.
Amanda Beth Herndon, of Orange Park, was charged with grand theft after an investigation revealed Herndon “used the account as if it were her personal bank account” from July 28, 2021, to July 1.
According to the affidavit for an arrest warrant, Crush Cheerleading was started by Herndon and two other people for a cheerleading squad to compete in national competitions. The other two partners, Stacie Garrahy and Paige Smith, reported the discrepancies to the CCSO. Herndon served as the organization’s president, Garrahy was vice president, and Smith was secretary. Garrahy and Smith were volunteers and not paid, according to the affidavit.
Crush was created for girls aged 18 and younger.
Parents funded the squad, and money was supposed to go to uniforms, practice uniforms, cheerleading equipment, gym purchases and rentals, competition and hotel fees and private training classes.
In June 2021, Herndon opened an account at VyStar Credit Union, and Garrahy and Smith weren’t given access to the account so they could monitor funds.
Garrahy and Smith became suspicious after receiving social media messages that Herndon was “profiting from Crush Cheerleading.” Garrahy and Smith eventually were added to the account on July 3. They spent four days reviewing bank records and “discovered personal transactions that dated back to 2021 and were unrelated to Crush Cheerleading.”
Garrahy and Smith reported their findings to CCSO on July 6.
According to the affidavit, Herndon refused to speak with sheriff’s office investigators.
Investigators got information from Amazon on purchases made from the nonprofit account. On Aug. 22, they determined some transactions were made from the Crush Cheerleading account, not cheerleading-related. They said the purchases were for “personal use/gain.” The amount of missing money was redacted from the affidavit.
Herndon was charged because she only had access to the account when the purchases were made.
One parent told Clay Today that parents lost thousands of dollars.
“She has been carrying on as if nothing happened,” she wrote. “Our girls nearly lost out on their cheer season. We, the parents, lost out on thousands of dollars we will more than likely never see again.”
Herndon posted a $50,003 bond and was released from the Clay County Jail.