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Soccer association victim of embezzlement

Former TYSA board member, bookkeeper arrested

Soccer association victim of embezzlement

Anita Ybarra


POSTED September 1, 2009 10:43 p.m.
A Keyes woman is facing criminal charges of embezzling thousands of dollars from the Turlock Youth Soccer Association.
Anita Anna Ybarra, 42, was arrested on Aug. 25 by the Turlock Police Department and charged with embezzlement, said police spokesperson Sgt. Nino Amirfar. Ybarra came into the police department on the 25th for an interview and was subsequently taken into custody, said Turlock Police Detective Steve Hammell.
Ybarra is a former board member of the soccer association and served as their bookkeeper until 2008, when she was asked to step down because of the embezzlement allegations, said Shelly Fernandes, the former commissioner of the TYSA.
Fernandes said she first noticed some discrepancies with the accounts related to the association’s competitive league in late 2007, early 2008.
“A couple of the teams came to me with questions about their accounts and as I started looking, I found some things that raised some red flags,” Fernandes said.
The matter was turned over to the Turlock Police Department, who initiated their own investigation.
According to an affidavit for an arrest warrant written by Hammell, Ybarra wrote numerous checks to herself totaling up into the thousands of dollars.
The checks from the TYSA require a second signature and most of the ones in question had the second signature of a relative of Ybarra’s, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit states that Ybarra sent an e-mail to Les Baptista, the current commissioner in May of 2008 that said the relative had nothing to do with the checks. She also allegedly said she had been a “bad bookkeeper.”
Hammell said Ybarra is not currently facing forgery charges.
The checks were drawn from three accounts from Bank of America. Two were from accounts used for tournaments and one was a team account.
On the TYSA Web site, a letter from Baptista and Aaron Donahue, the vice commissioner, states that “the currently elected Board has made significant changes in our policies and by laws to prevent future opportunities for misuse. We have a zero tolerance for any person within our organization that does not have the integrity and values that we have established as part of our organization. TYSA is here to help foster the youth of our community and we take that privilege seriously.”
The TYSA has two leagues. One is a competitive league were members try-out and about 225 kids are placed into traveling teams. The recreational league plays through November and has about 2,000 members.
Ybarra was released on bail.
The TYSA is the second youth organization in Turlock to become the victim of fund misappropriation. Earlier this year, an investigation into a former president and treasurer of the Turlock Youth Football was initiated by the police department. The investigation is still ongoing.
Anyone with information pertaining to the TYSA case is asked to call Detective Steve Hammell at 668-5550 ext. 6678.
The Turlock Police Department is an active participant in the Crime Stoppers Program. Callers can leave an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at 521-4636 and may be eligible for a cash reward.
To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.

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