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Healdsburg police send soccer embezzlement case to D.A.


Healdsburg Police have wrapped up their investigation into the alleged embezzlement of youth soccer league funds and are forwarding evidence of a potential felony to the County District Attorney's office.

The investigative report spells out the case against Kyle Hoffman, 37, the former Healdsburg Youth Soccer League president.

"We submitted it for review and a decision as to whether charges will be filed," said Police Lt. Kevin Young. "We believe there is probable cause" that a crime was committed, he said.

The District Attorney's Office confirmed that Hoffman is the subject of the investigation, and now must determine if the there is enough evidence to convince a jury.

Last summer, problems surfaced for the youth soccer organization when checks began to bounce and bills went unpaid. The league discovered it didn't have enough money in its accounts to cover the cost of white striping on the soccer fields.

Board members of the Healdsburg Youth Soccer League estimated at least $35,000 was missing.

They said Hoffman was writing checks to himself for questionable expenditures and asked police to investigate.

Those expenditures included a $3,400 check Hoffman wrote to himself for "taxes" even though the league is a non-profit that does not pay taxes, according to Aziz Zhari, his successor.

Another check, he said, was for $5,000 for "training coaches," and another $2,400 for "party for coaches," that no one was aware of.

Police said it took about six months to gather all the paperwork and get an accountant to audit the league's financial records going back two years.

"We started with no accounting records," Young said. "We had 25 percent of what we needed to look at."

Hoffman did not return a call Monday. He has previously declined comment when contacted by The Press Democrat.

About 300 boys and girls aged 18 and under play in the league.

The organization's funds are mostly derived from the $110 registration fee paid by the players' families, which is intended for field fees, uniforms, equipment and other cotsts.

Authorities were unable to say how long it might take for the District Attorney's office to determine if charges are warranted.

The case was received Jan. 21, but Young said it is not unusual to take longer than a few weeks for a determination because of the voluminous records involved in such investigations.

He noted that prosecutors want to be assured the evidence shows beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime took place.

Assistant District Attorney Christine Cook said she was not immediately able to contact the prosecutor assigned the case to determine when the review would be completed.

Publicity over the potential embezzlement led to an outpouring of financial support for the league.

The San Jose Earthquakes donated $4,000 worth of their game tickets for league members to sell and keep the proceeds. The professional soccer organization also gave $1,000 and enlisted Adidas to donate 125 soccer balls and 150 sports jerseys.

Other individuals and organizations helped with thousands of dollars in donations, including the City Council and refuse hauler North Bay Corp.

Zhari Monday estimated Monday that the outpouring from the community generated around $12,000 in donations.

And he said it put the league in good shape for the coming season.