A former Johnstown Little League Football president was arrested Monday for allegedly stealing more than $4,000 from the league in 2013 and 2014, according to police.
Eric J. Murphy, 33, of Johnstown, was charged with fourth-degree grand larceny, a class E felony, after an investigation by the Johnstown Police Department revealed that he allegedly stole $4,672 from the league.
“That would be 50 to 60 new helmets, or new shoulder pads,” said Scott Sweetman, vice president of tackle football for the Johnstown Little Bills. “So it’s a substantial amount of money that we’re going to have to figure out how to recoup.”
According to Sweetman and police, the league’s board asked police to investigate the league’s finances last August, alleging that Murphy had left with the financial records and possibly the missing money.
“We’re not a wealthy non-profit organization,” said Sweetman. “When you have that amount of money missing and you go to start looking at the next fiscal year, you know something is wrong.”
He said the amount stolen represents about 50 percent of the league’s annual budget, which comes primarily through fundraising and sponsorships. Last year, the league had eight teams and two cheerleading squads, with about 130 children ages 5 to 12 participating, he said.
Police say Murphy stole the money between March 2013 and June 2014. He was president and acting treasurer of the league for the past three or four years, said Sweetman.
“This man was in a position of power,” he said. “He held multiple roles on the board, so he had the unfortunate ability to do what he wanted to do.”
Amid the suspicions of theft, the board did some “housecleaning,” said Sweetman, electing a new board with mostly new members.
“It’s been a pretty good cleansing,” he said.
The league’s season starts in September. Sweetman said the board will focus its attention on the season while working quietly to move beyond this “potential black mark” on the league.
“We’re trying to get the program back on the right track,” he said.
Murphy was released with a ticket to appear March 17 in City Court.