Man Arrested for Writing Bad Checks To Charities

Scott Lyda mugshot courtesy Washoe County Jail

UPDATE 6/30/2014:
Scott Lyda has been arrested, charged with obtaining money and property under false pretenses, having non-sufficient funds for checks and a probation violation. His total bail is set at $25,000.


RENO, NV - One charity worker tells KOLO 8 News Now, in all her years, she's never seen anything like this. A Sparks man, allegedly attending fundraisers, bidding on items and writing bogus checks. One charity is out $1,000. This happened not just once, but at least twice this month alone. And there could be more victims.

Working locally for the last 11 years, the "For Kids Foundation" raises money to help kids who have fallen through the cracks with a pair of glasses, summer school, or even a medical procedure.

At a June 6th fundraiser the organization took in $25,000 dollars.

Some of that was supposed to come from Scott Lyda, who wrote a thousand dollars worth of checks, money donated to get into the event, and then money for items in a silent auction.

”Most of the stuff he got were actual gift cards,” says Paula Nielsen, Executive Director of the For Kids Foundation.

Nielsen says she tried to deposit those checks the following Monday.

“They told me the account was closed,” says Nielsen.

While Nielsen says she was left empty-handed, for Lyda it was a different story.

Neilsen provided us with a picture of the 43-year-old accompanied by his wife and another man taking items home they had won during the silent auction.

”And I don't know how, I don't know how someone's conscience could do that......,” says Tom Hettich with the Nevada Diabetes Association.

Just the day before the "For Kids Foundation" event, Lyda attended a Nevada Diabetes Association Fundraiser where Hettich says Lyda bid on several items.

But when it came to paying for the silent auction merchandise, Heddich says his team became suspicious.

“You know you can't write a check for over $200 for us for liability sake. And he got quite upset about it, would be the best way to describe it. Quite upset about it. But we had people there, so he backed down. But he was adamant he couldn't write for more than $200,” says Hettich.

That check bounced just like the others.

And like Kids Foundation, the Diabetes Association called Lyda, who said he'd be right down to pay---both organizations says Lyda never showed.

The District Attorney's Office is investigating these events for possible prosecution.

The office believes more charities may be involved, and in fact, after our story aired, KOLO 8 got a call from a representative with Reno Central Rotary, saying Lyda had written $350 worth of bad checks for tickets and auction items at an event in April 2014.

Scott Lyda pleaded guilty to attempted grand larceny last fall, for an incident in February of last year.

He was sentenced to mental health court for 36 months instead of jail time.

Court documents indicate he is indigent, and suffers from a bi-polar disorder.

But on May 6th he served a 6-day jail sentence for contempt.

If your charity has experience with Mr. Lyda, Reno police would like to hear from you.