KFOX14 Investigates: Texas Rangers investigating former Montwood coach accused of stealing
A former high school football coach is under a criminal investigation by the Texas Rangers.
Chuck Veliz used to coach at Montwood High School.
The popular and longtime educator is accused of stealing from the football program and fundraisers.
Veliz coached at Montwood for 14 years and also served as the school's athletic director.
He retired this February after a district investigation into the alleged mishandling of finances and financial impropriety.
Now, the Texas Rangers are investigating allegations that Veliz stole from the football program and fundraisers.
Last April, the Socorro Independent School District put Veliz on administrative leave for a period of time.
Socorro ISD began to investigate allegations Veliz pocketed money from fundraisers and mishandled the finances tied to the "activity" bank account.
Parents wanted to know where all the money from fundraisers was going, after feeling like things didn't add up.
"There were concerns of fundraising practices and what procedures, have they been followed, are they following district protocol," said Marivel Macias, Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services.
KFOX14 Investigates obtained a copy of SISD's investigation. It includes around 500 pages of documents including an internal audit.
SISD's audit shows Veliz cannot accurately account for all of the money.
There appears to be hundreds of receipts missing and transactions which took place in cash, making it difficult to track the account's finances.
For example, in the audit, parents and assistant coaches told district officials concession stand items were donated, so the program would make 100 percent profit. They report the concession stand making as much as $600 a night, all in cash, given to Veliz at the end of the night.
But the district could not find evidence that the money from the concession stand was ever deposited.
The district investigation found Veliz broke almost a dozen district policies including: not keeping receipts for fundraisers and other purchases for five years, not depositing all of the money collected into the bank account, and failing to submit fundraising applications.
Also, many of the transactions were done in cash, which is strictly against district policy.
Part of the audit's recommendation was to refer the case to law enforcement based on the findings. The audit says, "There were irregularities/findings that are defined as financial impropriety...in the handling of money or reporting of district financial transactions."
"We worked with the El Paso police, with the FBI and with the Texas Rangers. It's important, that just with everything, it's a collaborative effort," said Macias.
In the records KFOX14 Investigates obtained, FBI agents suggest, based on parent complaints, more than a $100,000 dollars in a three-year time period could be unaccounted for, for just one fundraising activity.
One FBI agent is quoted as saying, "If anything, Coach Veliz is guilty of poor, poor accounting practices. He cannot prove he's not lining his pockets."
During his time at Montwood, the football program never had a booster club.
KFOX14 Investigates reached out to Veliz and was directed to his attorney, Jim Darnell.
Darnell told KFOX14 Investigates, "This is a disgruntled family's never ending quest to smear one of El Paso's and Texas' finest coaches of all time. One agency after another has investigated and found nothing. We are confident the same thing will happen with the Texas Rangers. Maybe then these folks can go on with the rest of their lives."
"What do you say to parents so that when they give money they know that the money is going to what they are paying for?" KFOX14 Investigative Reporter Genevieve Curtis asked Macias.
"It's transparent so if you have a question always come to us because we want to make sure that we are here for the best interest of the students," said Macias.
The district said its reviewed its policies and again reminded employees about fundraising practices to make sure this doesn't happen again.
KFOX14 Investigates asked whether Veliz's retirement was voluntary.
"It was a decision he made on his own and that's all I know," said Macias.
At this time, Veliz has not been charged with a crime.