By TEREASA NIMS
Sunday Times Newspapers
TRENTON – Michigan State Police has taken over an investigation of an alleged $30,000 embezzlement from the Downriver Junior Football League.
Three board members originally reported their suspicions to Trenton police on Feb. 16, saying that they thought they had $23,000 in the account and found they had less than $45. The group’s vice president, secretary and treasurer told police they learned of the issue when the bank notified them of insufficient funds to cover checks they had written from the account.
The three members further told police that the group’s president has been making withdrawals for at least six years, which totaled possibly $30,000.
The vice president of the bank where the account is held also went to the police station providing documents of the withdrawals by one person during the past six years. The bank official told police there were about three cash withdrawals per month.
In cases like these, MSP Lt. Mike Shaw said, it is the children who suffer.
Members of the DJFL wouldn’t comment, but posted this on its website:
“The DJFL has discovered irregularities in its finances and has taken steps to reduce risk and further irregularities. The league has a recovery plan in place and will continue to deliver outstanding coaching and mentoring of football and cheerleading to the downriver and surrounding communities. We have notified the proper authorities and will not comment any further on an ongoing police investigation.”
The DJFL is aimed at children between the ages of 7 and 13, to give them a chance to partake in contact sports they would otherwise not have the opportunity to in their school careers.
Resident Danny LeVeque said the news saddens him.
“I grew up playing sports and the thought that someone would attempt to take that away from a kid is disgusting,” LeVeque said. “Some people don’t understand that sports may be a child’s only outlet.”
LeVeque said he had a rough childhood, but sports – particularly football – is what helped him through.
(Tereasa Nims can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)