Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Former Valencia High School Baseball Coach Accused Of Embezzling $15K

A felony arrest warrant was issued for a former high school coach accused of embezzling at least $15,000 from school funds intended for the baseball program.
According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, a seven-count felony complaint was filed Thursday against former Valencia High School varsity baseball coach Jared Snyder.
Deputies explained the complaint accused Snyder of misappropriation of public funds by a public officer, embezzlement by a public officer and grand theft by embezzlement.
In late 2013, parents from Valencia High School accused Snyder of committing financial wrongdoing.
These allegations prompted the William S. Hart School District to conduct an audit of the school baseball program to determine if there was evidence of misconduct by staff members.
The audit revealed substantial evidence that suggested Snyder had been misappropriating funds from the high school’s associated student body by submitting fraudulent reimbursements, authorities explained.
In March 2014, the LASD’s Fraud & Cyber Crimes Bureau began a 10 month investigation based on the results of the school district’s audit.
During this time, Snyder subsequently took a sudden, surprise leave of absence amongst speculation in the investigation.
Detectives learned that Snyder had opened a second bank account in the name of Valencia Diamond Club, without notifying the district.
Money deposited into this account reportedly came from fundraisers and donations intended for the Valencia High School baseball program.
According to deputies, Snyder is accused of making monthly payments to his personal credit cards from this bank account for charges that were unrelated to the school’s baseball program.
The audit also revealed that Snyder sought reimbursement for items previously reimbursed by the school’s student body.
In total, $8,000 in fraudulent cash reimbursements were allegedly embezzled by Snyder from the ASB.
Officials explained an additional $7,000 was misdirected from the fraudulent bank account to pay for his personal credit card charges.
Snyder’s bail was set to $70,000 by a Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge.
He is scheduled to surrender on Wednesday at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center, officials reported.

Former Valencia High School varsity baseball coach Jared Snyder pleaded not guilty Wednesday to felony charges he embezzled between $10,000 and $15,000 from the school and a booster club over a six-year period.

A seven-count felony complaint was filed against Snyder earlier this month alleging misappropriation of public funds by a public officer, embezzlement by a public officer and grand theft by embezzlement, Sheriff’s Department officials said Tuesday.

The 44-year-old Valencia resident entered his not-guilty plea in the Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown Los Angeles.

Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office, said the office’s Public Integrity Division is handling the case. Snyder was released on his own recognizance Wednesday and is due back in court March 5, Robison said.

Snyder’s defense lawyer, Daniel J. Kolodziej, said after the proceedings that his client is looking forward to “addressing and resolving” the allegations against him.

“We’re reviewing the allegations,” Kolodziej said. “Mr. Snyder has been a dedicated member of the community for many years and well recognized as a teacher and a coach.

“We’re looking forward to addressing and resolving the allegations as soon as possible,” he said. “At this stage, we are assessing what is allegation and what is evidence.”

The former baseball coach was placed on administrative leave in May by the William S. Hart Union High School District after questions arose about fundraising. On Dec. 3, during the course of the district’s investigation, Snyder resigned, a spokesman said.

In a prepared statement issued Wednesday, Assistant Superintendent Michael Vierra said: “In early 2014, the district initiated an investigation into allegations of improprieties by then-Valencia High School baseball coach Snyder based on information received by the district.

“Mr. Snyder was placed on administrative leave while the investigation was pending. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department also undertook a parallel investigation into the matter,” Vierra said.

According to prosecutors, Snyder allegedly submitted fraudulent reimbursement forms to Valencia High School while serving as varsity baseball coach, Robison said in a news release Wednesday.

“He also was in charge of the team’s parent-funded booster club account and is accused of paying for personal credit card expenses from that fund,” she said. “The complaint alleges the crimes occurred between April 2008 and February 2014.”

The Hart district conducted an audit last year after receiving a complaint of financial irregularities in the baseball program, Robison said. The audit results were turned over to the Sheriff’s Department.

Snyder is charged with one count each of misappropriation, embezzlement by a public officer, embezzlement by a private officer, and four counts of grand theft.

If convicted, he faces up to six years, eight months in state prison.

The Sheriff’s Department investigation of the case was continuing, officials said.

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