Police probe thefts from Amherst youth soccer league
Text AMHERST — A former Amherst Youth Soccer Association employee is expected to face larceny charges in connection with allegations that he stole money from the program in recent years.
Amherst Police Detective Lt. Ronald Young said Tuesday that his department is investigating the apparent theft and misappropriation of money by a man responsible for enrolling children.
“There will be some criminal charges that pop out of it when the investigation is complete,” Young said.
Police are not yet publicly identifying the suspect, but said he is no longer affiliated with the soccer program. His alleged actions were reported to police several weeks ago, Young said.
Paul Bailin and Meg Rosa, the co-presidents of the association, sent a memo to parents and guardians alerting them to the investigation, which began following an internal review of finances and an indication that the treasury balance was lower than it should have been based on enrollment records.
“Upon initiating an investigation of our own,” Bailin and Rosa wrote, “we learned that a past AYSA employee may have been soliciting and accepting monies from parents without the knowledge or consent of the association, and not depositing those funds into our treasury. This activity has been reported to the Amherst police and an investigation is currently underway.”
Reached by email Tuesday, Bailin declined to comment further on the investigation.
“We can provide general info about AYSA, but we’ve been advised not to comment publicly on any aspect of the criminal investigation,” Bailin said.
Young said it appears the man’s actions occurred over a period of time — and there is no estimate of how much money was taken, though he described it as a “significant amount” and “in the hundreds of dollars.” Alleged victims are still coming forward with more information, Young said.
Bailin and Rosa’s letter reminds parents and guardians that enrollment should be paid using the program’s online registration system or through checks payable to AYSA, not in cash or made out to individual employees or board members.
“The scam typically occurred when a prospective player missed the online enrollment period and asked to register late. The family was then contacted by a member or employee of the association and payment by cash or check was requested after the parents were assured that the player was or would be enrolled.”
Any parents or guardians who paid a specific employee with cash or personal check over the past three to four years are asked to contact detectives and provide documentation, such as canceled checks, emails or other forms of communication.
“We would very much appreciate your help, which will allow us to recover as much of the lost funds as possible and help keep the program affordable,” Bailin and Rosa wrote.