A Sonoma County judge Monday denied early release for a Healdsburg youth soccer league president serving nine months in jail for embezzling more than $58,000 from the organization.
Kyle Hoffman, 38, appeared before Judge Ken Gnoss, asking to be released after serving about five months. Hoffman said he wanted to begin earning money to repay the league and to support his wife and two children.
His lawyer, George Arack, said Hoffman has an offer of employment from his old boss.
"The league needs their money," said Hoffman, a former marketing manager, standing before Gnoss in a blue jail uniform. "My children need their father."
But Gnoss denied the request, saying Hoffman already received a break when he was allowed to serve his time in county jail rather than prison.
Gnoss said he wanted to send a message to anyone who would steal from dues-paying parents and their children.
"I think nine months was rather lenient," Gnoss said. "You could have gone to state prison."
Earlier this year, Hoffman pleaded guilty to writing more than 70 unauthorized checks from league accounts when he was president from 2008 to 2010. The league has about 250 kids.
He asked for probation but was thrown in jail in August when he fell short of repaying half of the money under the terms of an agreement. Deputies put handcuffs on him in court after he handed over a check for about $12,200. His lawyer said he cashed in two retirement accounts to come up with the money.
He's been in jail even since.
Hoffman said Monday he's been a model inmate, serving as a trustee and taking classes. He said he was aware the league was about to start and wanted to be sure it had enough money.
"I care about that league," he said in court as his wife watched from the audience.
Prosecutor Bill Brockley opposed an early release, pointing to the number of illegal transactions. The checks ranged from $60 to $3,180 and forced the league to the brink of bankruptcy.
"The people feel the sentencing was appropriate," Brockley said.