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$26K Taken From Softball Account

Oakdale Police are investigating the embezzlement of over $26,000 from the Oak Valley Youth Softball Association and, according to law enforcement officials, a decision from the district attorney whether to prosecute is expected any day now.

Oakdale Police Chief Lester Jenkins confirmed that last month Oak Valley Youth Softball representatives contacted the police regarding more than $26,000 missing from their Oak Valley Community Bank account.

“It was discovered by one of their club officers and reported to us,” Jenkins said.

The chief added that a suspect was named in the investigation and since the individual had not been charged, declined to provide the name police focused their investigation on.

Jenkins said the matter was investigated by police and eventually sent to the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office on Oct. 24 for review of charges.

Brett Word, commissioner of Oak Valley Youth Softball Association, confirmed that he was one of the individuals that later contacted the police after discovering the theft. He was contacted about league umpires for the games not getting paid and checked the club’s bank account and statements.

“I caught wind of it (umpires not being paid) and saw no money in our account,” Word said when contacted by phone on Wednesday, Nov. 12. “There was no balance.”

Word said he contacted a board member responsible for the group’s finances and was initially told the association had problems with its non-profit status so the money was pulled to avoid problems with the IRS.

Word later met with the individual and pressed for more information. After ordering the money be put back in the account regardless of their circumstance with the IRS, the subject admitted to fabricating the non-profit story and using the money for personal needs and desires.

According to Word, the board member said he cashed the checks himself and would deposit them into his personal bank account.

“I can’t say much more,” Word said. “We’re waiting for police and hoping restitution will come of it.”

The Oak Valley Youth Softball Association is a non-profit organization that provides an opportunity for children in Oakdale and the surrounding communities to learn and play softball. In 2013, the organization had approximately 265 players participate in the recreational league.