State: Director embezzled $20K from youth baseball group – Detroit Free Press
A Shelby Township man is accused of embezzling more than $20,000 from his youth baseball league charity to buy a vehicle, travel to Florida and pay bills for himself and family members, including his mother’s monthly mobile phone bills.
Joseph Wallace Wolf Jr., 51, was released on a $50,000 personal bond after arraignment today on five felony counts of embezzling $1,000 to less than $20,000. His next court dates are Aug. 20 for a probable cause conference and Aug. 27 for a preliminary exam, according to a release from the Michigan Gaming Control Board.
Board spokeswoman Mary Kay Bean said Wolf was in charge of the Detroit Metro Stars Baseball league. She did not know if he was still affiliated with the group, whose website indicates it has developed players for 10 years. It appears the league caters to ages 8 to 18, preparing them to play high school baseball and in some cases collegiate baseball.
Wolf could not be reached for comment on Thursday night.
The charges stem from a joint investigation between the control board and Attorney General Bill Schuette, who filed the charges Tuesday, according to the release.
The case is the third investigation of a youth charity in Macomb County this year by the control board.
It investigated the Clinton Valley Little League in Clinton Township and Switzer Elementary PTO in Shelby Township after principal members of those groups were charged with embezzlement of charity gaming proceeds.
Wolf is accused of stealing funds for personal use from 2012 to 2014 and using the money, in part, to make a house payment and pay personal vehicle repair bills for himself and other family members, according to the control board.
The money was raised at millionaire parties, also known as charitable gaming events, for the baseball league. Such parties allow people to hold a limited number of casino-style events on behalf of a charity. Attendees pocket a small portion of their winnings with the charity receiving the rest, according to the release.
It states that Detroit Metro Stars Baseball held 32 days of charity poker in 2012 and 2013 at The River, a township bar. Bean said the group has not held such parties in 2014 or this year. The group will not be able to conduct charitable gaming until it demonstrates to the control board it follows proper financial controls.
The control board audits charities to make sure they properly account for and lawfully spend funds raised through millionaire parties, Executive Director Richard Kalm said in the release. Bean said such an audit “discovered some irregularities” and the control board pursued the matter.
“Ensuring the integrity of these charitable gaming parties and bringing to justice those who misuse these events for their own financial gain is something I strongly believe in,” Schuette said in the release. “I want to thank MGCB for their diligence in monitoring these types of events and we will continue to work together in the future to protect organizations from greedy and self-serving individuals.”
If Wolf is convicted, each count is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or fines, according to the release.
Contact Christina Hall: email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter: @challreporter.
Editor’s note: The headline on an earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the youth baseball league as being affiliated with Little League. This version has been corrected.