Probation for York USA youth soccer official who embezzled from league
A former treasurer of the York United Soccer Association who embezzled more than $90,000 from the organization has avoided prison as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors designed to help the youth soccer league recoup some of its losses.
The dressing down defendant Timothy A. Herman received in court during his Monday, Sept. 16, guilty plea hearing wasn't part of the deal. Presiding Common Pleas Judge Craig T. Trebilcock threw that in free of charge.
"This is obviously a pretty despicable act," the judge told Herman. "You need to take a hard look in the mirror."
After listening to Herman say he "ran into some financial troubles at home" and used York USA funds "to try to keep afloat," Trebilcock told Herman he has a character problem.
"You have a fundamentally warped sense of right and wrong, and you should be ashamed of yourself," the judge said.
Trebilcock noted that white-collar cases tend to be tricky.
"Organizations get ripped off, and we're kind of hooked on the horns of a dilemma," the judge said. If a defendant is imprisoned, the likelihood of the organization getting its money back is slim, he noted.
Organizations have a better chance of recouping some of their losses by instead supporting plea agreements that let embezzlers avoid prison, under the theory they can pay restitution more quickly, the judge noted.
Meanwhile, some shoplifters are sentenced to prison, Trebilcock said.
"Something seems wrong with this," he said.
Cashier's check: The acceptance of Herman's guilty plea was contingent upon him providing a $17,500 check to prosecutors at his hearing Monday. That cashier's check was then turned over to York USA officials.
Asked by Trebilcock what he used the stolen money for, Herman said it went to credit cards, cars, auto repairs and house repairs. Herman also said he had two daughters in college at the time.
Herman actually stole about $93,000 from York USA, senior deputy prosecutor Jennifer Tobias has said.
As part of his plea agreement with prosecutors, Herman, 52, of the 2100 block of Poplars Road in Dover Township, pleaded guilty to third-degree felony theft and agreed to pay back a total of $65,193.13 to York USA.
In addition to the $17,500 cashier's check Herman provided Monday, he must pay at least $100 in restitution every month without fail, the judge said.
"I'm going to be watching you," Trebilcock warned Herman. "Your sole reason for existing right now (is to pay restitution). Because if you're not, you're going to jail."
Herman will be on probation for five years, the judge ordered.
Long-term damage: Cindy Mullin, executive vice president of the York USA league, told the judge during Monday's hearing that Herman's actions had a lasting effect on the league.
It had to eliminate the paid position of league administrator due to lack of funds, according to Mullin. Instead, the remaining league officials have picked up that slack themselves but aren't being compensated, she said.
A league scholarship program had to be cut two years ago and won't be brought back in the foreseeable future, she said.
In the past 18 months, York USA has lost about 20% of its clubs, which amounts to about 30% of its teams, according to Mullin.
Some 9- and 10-year-olds now have to travel farther for games, including to Danville, Montour County, she said.
Fewer players: The league currently has about 2,500 players, down from between 3,500 and 4,000 players, according to Mullin and York USA Board President Stephen Clever.
Clever noted that not only did Herman avoid jail time, he also doesn't have to pay back about $28,000 of what he stole.
If Herman pays only his minimum monthly requirement of $100 in restitution, it will take him nearly 40 years to fully repay York USA, according to Clever.
York USA has changed internal policies in the wake of the embezzlement, "so it cannot happen again," Mullin said, and so parents can feel confident about the organization.
The league's treasurer is now bonded, she said, and four people within the organization review finances monthly. Plus, Mullin said, she makes all the deposits.
The cashier's check turned over by Herman on Monday came from his father, according to Mullin.
The background: York USA has its headquarters on Industrial Highway in Springettsbury Township, and it was Springettsbury Township Police who investigated.
The league notified police in December 2017 that officers had become suspicious of Herman's accounting practices in July 2017. Herman had been the league's sole treasurer since 2005, court documents state.
Board members reviewed the league's finances, specifically its money market and checking accounts, police said.
They reported to police that in August 2011 there was about $68,600 in the money market account but that by October 2017 that amount had dropped to about $89, according to documents.
Herman told investigators the thefts began sometime around 2011 and increased in frequency around 2015, documents state.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.