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Man Accused of Embezzling from Santa Clara Swim Club Arrested and Arraigned

John Bitter, the man accused of embezzling more than $600,000 from the Santa Clara Swim Club, is now back in Santa Clara County awaiting his next hearing.

“We went out last week and we physically took custody of him at the jail that he was in in Arizona,” said Captain Wahid Kazem of the Santa Clara Police Department (SCPD). “We flew him back here and we booked him into main jail.”

Bitter was arrested in Arizona earlier this month and waived extradition. He made his first appearance in front of a Bay Area judge on May 28 where he was charged with a half a dozen felonies including grand theft.

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“Bail [was] set at $500,000 with an order by the judge to examine the source of bail money,” said Deputy District Attorney Peter Waite. “He was not released and will not be until he posts bail.”

According to SCPD, Bitter took out a loan out in the Santa Clara Swim Club’s name without the permission of the club. He reportedly used that money to invest in a restaurant/bar in Arizona.

As the Santa Clara Weekly reported in October 2018, Bitter was fired on Sept. 27 after the swim club discovered the financial improprieties and confronted Bitter. Just two days after Bitter was fired, the club reported the issue to Santa Clara police and an investigation was opened.

When news of the charges filed against Bitter first came to light in May, the Santa Clara Swim Club sent a letter to its members reassuring them that Bitter no longer has any connection to the club.

The club also provided the Santa Clara Weekly with a copy of that letter.

“While these reported developments have brought Mr. Bitter’s actions back to light, we would like to assure all members that Mr. Bitter has had no interaction with the club since the Fall of 2018,” wrote Santa Clara Swim Club Board of Directors President, Niko Meadors. “Our priorities remain to ensure the safety of all athletes and that members understand that the dishonest actions of one individual are not a reflection of the organization’s values and commitment.”

The letter also invited members of the Santa Clara Swim Club to reach out with any questions or concerns.

Bitter is scheduled to appear in court again on June 20.

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