Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Former junior football treasurer pleads guilty to embezzlement in Michigan

Celeste Foster, the former volunteer treasurer for the Waverly Junior Warriors Football program, entered a guilty plea on Tuesday, Sept. 24 to embezzling between $1,000 and $20,000 from a non-profit or charitable organization.
It is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a $15,000 fine or three times the amount embezzled, though she is not likely to serve more than a year if she is incarcerated.
Sentencing is scheduled Nov. 21 at 8:30 a.m. before circuit court judge Janice Cunningham.
Eaton County prosecutor Doug Lloyd said a condition of Foster’s plea agreement is that she remain on probation for up to five years during which time she will make restitution to WJWF. In return, Lloyd said, if the judge decides on jail time, he will recommend a sentence of no more than 12 months.
“This will be a case our office will continue to watch so that the young people get paid,” said Lloyd, who was involved with a youth football program in Grand Ledge. “I want the Junior Warriors to get their money back.”
Originally, up to $11,000 was the amount thought to have been embezzled, according to WJWF president Jim Kilfoyle. Now, however, Kilfoyle says an accountant asked to reconstruct what happened estimates the figure to be closer to $20,000.
“We’ve moved forward and we’ve got a lot of good things going on,” Kilfoyle said of his organization, adding that he hopes for a lengthy probation period during which Foster will be required to make restitution.
“Hopefully she can get her life back together and make good on restitution,” he said.
Although WJWF parents and players were shocked last December when they realized how many bills had not been paid, Kilfoyle said they were heartened by how the community rallied to support them.
“As horrible as this is, it’s amazing the outpouring of support,” he said at the time. “We will rebound and will endeavor to be the best youth program in the area.”
Part of the Tri-County Youth League, Waverly Junior Warriors Football is open to students from fourth- through eighth-grade in Waverly schools.

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