Arizona Former Basketball Coach Arrested for Fraud and Theft


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Pinal County, AZ – In a shocking turn of events, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) has arrested Denise Cardenas, also known as Coach Gooch, former women’s basketball coach at Central Arizona College (CAC), on multiple charges of fraud and theft. 

According to PCSO, the arrest took place in Yuma on February 24, 2024, marking a significant development in a case that began with a theft report filed by a CAC representative in August 2022.

The investigation uncovered that between 2021 and 2022, 44-year-old Cardenas reportedly misappropriated nearly $28,000, including student financial aid and team fundraiser money. 

The fraud has affected a total of six known victims so far, comprising four students, one parent, and the school itself. PCSO has expressed concerns that there may be additional victims and has encouraged anyone with information to contact them at 520-866-5111.

Sheriff Mark Lamb lauded the collaborative efforts that led to Cardenas’s arrest, acknowledging the Pinal County Attorney’s Office investigators for their role in tracing the stolen funds and the Yuma Police Department for their assistance in apprehending the suspect. 


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