Brian Molloy, 38, of Farmington, MI was arraigned Monday on one count of embezzlement from the Livonia City Soccer Club. The theft of over $100,000.00 was reported to police by two of the club’s board members on Sept. 17. The soccer club’s board removed Molloy from his post Monday, the same day the group sent a letter explaining the situation to parents, according to board member Joe Bauman.
What makes this even more unfortunate, is that this is not an uncommon occurrence amongst youth soccer organizations. I have had the honor and pleasure of working closely with soccer clubs and youth organizations for a little over twelve years now in my job
. In that time I have been told of a few, granted smaller, embezzlement cases against youth leagues.
What I have found most interesting in hearing these stories is that most of the time, the embezzler is not your classic villain. They usually start off like any other board member, as a volunteer with kids in the program, a volunteer who earns respect and is highly regarded. But in some cases, times get tough and the volunteer, seeing an account with thousands of dollars in it, takes just a little (at first) with the full intention of paying it back. As smaller amounts become larger amounts, like $100,000.00 in Malloy’s case, paying it back becomes impossible.
The part of these stories that is most striking to me is that most times, while the embezzler is deservedly shunned and punished by the leagues, they are often not reviled. Sure, I’ll hear things like, “idiot”, “what was he thinking” and “he screwed us”, but rarely do I hear of a story where there isn’t some understanding, despite the severe disappointment.
To be fair, this is the first embezzlement case I’ve heard of in a long while as leagues and clubs have put several measures in to protect Board members from themselves. Polcies such as two signature checks, no automatic monthly debits of any kind and monthly auditing of accounts. But where there is a loophole it seems that some people just can’t help themselves. In the case of Molloy, he pulled off the embezzlement because two different soccer clubs in Livonia merged and one of the club’s accounts, which accepted online registration fees, was never closed. This account accumulated money, which was quietly purloined by Molloy.
This whole situation is a complete disaster but the club has pledged to its players and parents that their experience will not be affected by it. Hopefully we’ll never hear one of these stories again.