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Police probe possible theft from group

Officials suspect money taken from Fulton United Soccer

December 5, 2012
By LEVI PASCHER , The Leader Herald

GLOVERSVILLE - Authorities are investigating whether money was taken from the Fulton United Soccer Club Recreational Soccer league.

City Police Chief Donald VanDeusen said officials from the soccer club filed a complaint about missing money around March.

Neither the police nor league officials would say how much money may have been taken.

The president of the league said a person is suspected of taking money, but the president did not identify the person.

"Unfortunately, it is one of those financial investigations which can be a long and tedious process," VanDeusen said. "You are talking about years of allegations that have to all be sorted out, and that is not something that can be solved overnight."

VanDeusen said the department is being assisted by the district attorney's office and will be seeking assistance from state police. He said the department will seek an audit to confirm figures being provided by the league.

Fulton United Soccer Club Recreational President Jim Yanno said the league noticed the funds were missing after a routine review.

He declined to identify the individual suspected of taking the money. However, he said the person in question no longer is a part of the organization.

He also declined to comment on when the alleged theft occurred, but he said it predated a reorganization undertaken by the league's Board of Directors last fall.

VanDeusen declined to comment on when the funds were taken or identify any suspects.

VanDeusen said he hopes to be able to complete the investigation soon.

"Over the years, kids started to age out of the program and so did their parents, leaving the running of the league to fewer and fewer people, which played a part in this issue," Yanno said. "We are just trying to get the league back on track and more organized."

Yanno said the league is operating under a different leadership than it was when the money is believed to have gone missing.

He also said if the investigation reveals a theft did take place, the league will be prepared to move forward with criminal action.

"We really want to do the right thing and be honest with the public, but we have to make sure things are handled in the right way," Yanno said.

He said once the investigation is completed, he will provide more information to the public.

"We do plan in the future to sit down and have an open session where people can come and review our finances and budget," Yanno said. "We are just waiting for this to work through. The whole idea of this program is to just have an outlet for kids to have fun, and this really just takes away from all that."

The soccer league serves about 500 children in Fulton County. The program continues despite the loss of money, Yanno said.

Fulton United Soccer Club-Recreational Soccer shares a portion of its name with the Fulton United Soccer Club-Travel Soccer, but the two are separate organizations.

In response to the investigation, Jon Caraco, co-president of the FUSC-Travel, released a statement clarifying the distinction.

"We would like the public to be aware there are two separate organizations with similar names and missions; however, the organizations are completely independent of each other," Caraco wrote. "We are the Fulton United Soccer Club-Travel Soccer, our official name with the IRS. We would like to formally state that we are an organization not affiliated with the Fulton United Soccer Club-Recreation Soccer. The two clubs, despite the similar names, do not overlap in any way. The clubs have separate boards of directors, separate mission statements and separate finances."

Levi Pascher covers Gloversville news. He can be reached by email at gloversville@leaderherald.com.

 
 

 

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