WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. - Over the last 25 years, the Tri-Boro Youth Soccer Club in Whitehall has taught thousands of youths how to dribble, pass and shoot.
"We have about 700 kids between travel teams and rec. teams," explained Club President Tino Babayan.
But those boys and girls almost didn't have a season this year. Lawyers for the club say for at least the last six years someone on the board has been siphoning tens of thousands of dollars from the organization.
"They were saving money to purchase a field so there was supposed to be a substantial amount of money in the account that was being reported that everybody thought was there that wasn't there," elaborated attorney Matthew Croslis.
He says one account that was reported to have $41,000 in it was wiped down to $2,000. The club is functioning, but barely.
"We have league fees, we have ref fees, we have equipment fees," Babayan said. "We have a lot of bills to pay that we're backed up on."
Babayan was just elected president in September. He stumbled upon the missing money in February while trying to make sure club paperwork was in order. He estimates at least $100,000 dollars was stolen by someone most people trusted.
"When my board members found out about the situation they were very very mad, and they were very disgusted," he said.
"I don't think anybody had any inclination about something going on," added Field Director Alan Bile.
"It's unfortunate," said Croslis. "In small clubs like this people trust each other, they're all friends and their kids play soccer together and everybody trusts each other."
Police have been investigating the thefts for the last four months, but no arrests have been made.
"They're not being slow, they're being thorough and accurate," explained Croslis.
Allentown, PA 18102
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