LAND O'LAKES — In August, the president of the Bay City Flyers, a remote-control aircraft club with 220 local members, tried to buy a $10,000, commercial-grade lawn mower for the club's 20 acres on State Road 52.
The check bounced.
"We checked on it and, sure enough, we had minus $44 in the bank," said president Charlie Poulton.
They found out the club's longtime treasurer, Innis D. Spindle, 62, had taken more than $50,000 from the account, a Sheriff's Office report says.
The Pasco Sheriff's Office charged Spindle on Wednesday with scheme to defraud. He has no prior arrests in Florida.
"It broke my heart when we found out about it," said Poulton, who said he has been the club's president for 12 years. He said Spindle has been treasurer about the same length of time.
From October 2005 to July 2010, Spindle wrote 146 checks from the club's account for personal use, investigators said.
A report says $5,586 in checks went to Spindle's two daughters as gifts. He spent $38,547 on payments for personal loans and wrote checks for cash for $6,099, authorities said. He paid a $79 dental bill and $50 to get his car repaired, the report states.
Spindle did deposit more than $15,000 of his own money to the account, the report states. But Poulton said the club is still owed more than $35,000.
Poulton said the 30-year-old club is "fiscally solvent" after collecting annual dues from members. "We're okay," he said. "We're not going to go bankrupt."
He said members had gotten over the shock.
They're "disappointed, but we're moving forward."
Spindle of Wesley Chapel was released Wednesday from Pasco County Jail on $10,000 bail.
Contacted Thursday, Spindle said: "The only thing I'm guilty of is poor judgment."
He said the Pasco detectives only searched the account as far back as 2005. Spindle said he deposited more of his own money in the club's account before 2005.
"They are looking at one part of the puzzle and not all of it," he said.
Times researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this story. Erin Sullivan can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 869-6229.