Embezzle, fo’ shizzle
In Frederick, Md., the sheriff’s department is investigating possible embezzlement at the local Youth Sports Association. Its interest was piqued after the group’s treasurer suddenly resigned, then her husband — a local football coach — suddenly resigned, and the association decided maybe it was time for an audit.
The sheriff (above), on the case.
At this point, I’m not sure embezzlement at a youth sports organization counts as news. Not when it happens so often. A quick Google search turns up a case pending in Ault, Colo., and a federal indictment in Seminole County, Fla. Youth sports embezzlement is so common, your league can buy insurance to protect against any losses.
Youth sports organizations are an easy target for theft because they tend to have one person handling a lot of cash transactions that are audited and accounted for by no one outside that single volunteer. Just like how a person who really wants to coach kids, but has none of his or her own, is now thought of a potential child molester, anyone desiring the job as league treasurer might need to be thought of as a potential thief first.
Then again, even a thief can get in, given the lack of volunteers for the long and tedious job of counting the money. That the Allendale (Mich.) Little League was swindled out of $16,000 should not have come as surprise, because the treasurer was OK’d even though a criminal background check showed one embezzlement conviction and one pending case. “This is an all-volunteer group,” the Grand Rapids Press quoted the current league president as saying. “You take what you can get.”
Unfortunately, “you take what you can get” is also the attitude of a lot of league treasurers. This article from Athletic Business details a lot of the usual advice for leagues — rotate league treasurers often, see if you can get an accountant pro bono to look at the books, etc. Sadly for Allendale, it left out the part about not hiring a guy with an embezzlement conviction.