Texas Parents Lose Money as a Youth Sports Organizer Eludes Background Checks

By Michael Klazema on 2/7/2019

Youth sports often provide children with opportunities for personal growth and new experiences, and for many years, they have been a regular part of life in towns and cities across the US. As parents have grown more concerned about those coaching their children and the safety of these organizations, some communities have worked to adapt to these changing expectations and requirements. 

In some areas, patchwork policies leave the door open for problematic scenarios. In El Paso, Texas, a convoluted municipal sports system allowed one convicted felon to allegedly scam parents out of sports-related funds.

According to a report by local affiliate KVIA, the city of El Paso does not directly manage any youth sports teams. Instead, it regulates access to city playing fields for these teams while providing limited oversight for individuals registered as coaches. The city runs a criminal background check on registered coaches, similar to's US OneSEARCH, and disqualifies them for certain records. These include felony convictions and misdemeanors involving drugs and alcohol.

El Paso parents were surprised to learn that the man organizing one new sports team had a recent felony theft conviction and misdemeanors in his record. The discovery was made after parents paid Jose Ochoa hundreds of dollars for uniforms, sporting equipment, and team registration fees. Though Ochoa claims that he was himself defrauded by a uniform company, El Paso police subsequently arrested him on suspicion of theft and for violating the probation from a prior conviction. 

Ochoa did register the team with the city, but he was not subjected to the “mandatory” city background check. City officials pointed to the fact that Ochoa was listed only a "point of contact" for the team and not its coach. While it is unclear whether he represented himself as the coach to parents, what is clear is that many of the parents and city officials involved believed everything was above board. 

Even if the background check had been conducted, El Paso does not currently identify theft convictions as disqualifying offences. In the wake of KVIA's report and Ochoa's latest arrest, city officials claim they are reconsidering that policy. makes it simple for parents involved in the organization of a youth sports league to ensure that those working with their children are fully vetted. While some municipalities, such as El Paso, take some responsibility for background checks on coaches, volunteers can fly under the radar. Investing in a criminal history search tailored to your requirements makes the process of screening coaches, staff, volunteers, and others straightforward and stress-free. 

With increasing concern about the threat posed by those who work with children, securing personal access to the right vetting tools may be a next step for concerned parents to consider.

Tag Cloud
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • February 18

    Many hiring decisions are based mostly on candidates’ past work experiences. Here’s how a background check can verify employers to make sure those hiring decisions are grounded in fact.

  • February 14 As more states legalize various forms of marijuana, past marijuana convictions are still causing concern while uncertainty over substances such as CBD drives new arrests. 
  • February 12 A new bill in the New York State legislature could add new requirements for school employee background checks. Currently, private schools are not required to follow state mandates regarding background checks.
  • February 07 Some parents in El Paso, Texas have been left wondering about the strength of their city's youth sports procedures after a felon fraudulently took funds for a girls' soccer team.
  • February 06 If there is one way that volunteer organizations could serve their communities better, it’s implementing more thorough volunteer screening policies.
  • February 05 Madison County, Illinois has created a new initiative designed to help individuals overcome barriers to employment. Clients of the initiative will be able to explore criminal record expungement among other options.
  • February 01 An OfficeTeam survey found that the two most common forms of resume dishonesty had to do with past employers: job experience and job duties or responsibilities.
  • January 31 During the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, hundreds of thousands of federal employees have gone without work for more than a month. Some are finding temporary alternatives elsewhere.
  • January 29 A Florida nurse has been arrested for allegedly stealing two types of prescription pain medications from the county jail where she worked. The case highlights the importance of rigorous drug testing procedures for employment situations in which employees have access to prescription drugs.
  • January 24 After the airline failed to adequately disclose to applicants that they would undergo a background check, a court has ruled Delta did not meet its legislative obligations. The settlement highlights the importance of rigorous compliance.