A Gloversville woman admitted in Fulton County Court on Tuesday that she stole nearly $20,000 from the youth soccer club that she formerly served as treasurer.
Sandra Yost, 46, pleaded guilty to one count of fourth-degree grand larceny, a felony. A major part of the plea deal, the prosecutor said later, is that she repay the money she stole. If she can do that by the time she is sentenced in July, she will get either 60 consecutive days or 60 weekend days in jail. She is also to get five years' probation.
Her attorney has indicated that she will be able to repay the money, Assistant Fulton County District Attorney James Riley said later, though, that if she doesn't, the plea would have to be revisited.
“Ms. Yost was in a position where the public was trusting her in her capacity as treasurer of the organization,” he said. “We want the people involved in the soccer club made whole and the money paid at sentencing.”
Yost was arrested in October after a yearlong investigation into missing funds from the Fulton United Soccer Club. She had served as the club’s treasurer and had sole access to the club’s finances.
She initially was accused of taking more than $13,000 from the club from 2007-11. Further investigation into the club’s books placed the total theft at $19,290, Riley said.
Authorities said she spent the money on personal expenses and issued checks to family members.
The investigation went back only as far as 2007, police said at the time of her arrest, because five years is the statute of limitations for prosecution of such thefts. Yost was club treasurer before 2007, police said.
Fulton United is a countywide organization providing 500 to 600 children the opportunity to play soccer each year. Operations are largely supported by fundraisers and fees of $35 per child per season.
Club officials began realizing something was wrong in 2012 after a new batch of board members started looking at the finances. The details were alarming enough that they turned over their financial records to Gloversville police. The state police Financial Crimes Unit eventually got involved.
Club officials have said that procedures are now in place to ensure that something similar can’t happen again.
Yost appeared in court Tuesday with her attorney, Robert Abdella, who declined comment afterward.
The courtroom gallery behind them was empty of spectators, but throughout the proceedings, Yost appeared to be on the verge of tears.
Judge S. Peter Feldstein recited the accusations in court and finally asked Yost, “Is that in fact, what happened?”
“Yes, sir,” she responded.
And she had no right to take the money? he asked. No, she had no right, she responded.
She remains free awaiting sentencing.