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COUPLE AGREES TO REPAY HALF OF STOLEN FUNDS

SHARE COUPLE AGREES TO REPAY HALF OF STOLEN FUNDS

A couple has admitted taking at least $50,000 from a youth baseball program in a plea bargain agreement that will require them to repay $26,000.

"It's not nearly what they took, but it's more than we expected to get back," said Gerry Smith, a member of the committee trying to recover the money.Clay and Maria Bates each pleaded guilty in a court appearance Tuesday and admitted skimming money from the Western Boys Baseball Association, also called the Bonneville Boys Baseball Association. It is a program for baseball players ages 9-12.

The guilty pleas were part of an agreement under which prosecutors will recommend probation if the couple repays $26,000 by a Dec. 16 sentencing date.

Police have estimated that from 1991-95, the couple took between $50,000 and $60,000 from the organization.

For four years, Maria Bates was association treasurer. Her husband was president of one of seven association leagues.