Glen Rock Man Accused of Embezzling $60K From Youth Soccer Club: "I Apologize"
Sean Corry, of Glen Rock, has agreed to make restitution payments in the amount of over $57,000 and will not have a criminal record if he completes a pre-trial intervention program.
Apologetic and hoping to move on, the former treasurer of a Glen Rock youth soccer club accused of embezzling nearly $60,000 into his personal bank account has entered a pre-trial intervention (PTI) program and will likely avoid jail time.
Sean M. Corry, 46, of Glen Rock, was accused in July of funnelling $57,761 of funds bound for the Glen Rock Shooting Stars Soccer Club to his own personal bank account.
Court documents signed on Nov. 14 show Corry has already made payments of $30,000 to the club and will over the next three years pay the remaining $27,761.
In a conversation with Patch on Wednesday, he expressed regret and remorse for the theft.
"I apologize," Corry said in a telephone conversation. "I realize that I did something wrong and I'm happy with the opportunity to rectify it with [the] PTI that was offered to me."
According to Bergen County Prosecutor's Office spokeswoman Maureen Parenta, Corry, a first-time offender, will not be serving jail time if he satisfies the program's requirements, essentially returning the money in full.
"When he satisfies the PTI requirements, the charge is dismissed and the record is expunged," she said.
The theft was discovered during a routine background check following Corry's move from board treasurer to board vice president in June, Glen Rock police have said.
The indictment stated he embezzled funds from September 2010 through July 2012. Corry has not disputed the figure.
"It's something you don't expect," Shooting Stars Board President Declan Daly said Wednesday.
Corry was the consummate volunteer, willing to do just about anything asked of him, according to Daly.
"Sean was the first person to raise his hand and say, 'I'll do it.' When this came out, people on the board especially were kind of shocked and hurt. We sat for two years in board meetings and were essentially lied to."
Why the nearly $60,000 went missing remains unclear. Shooting Stars board members said they have no idea what compelled Corry to clear the club's bank account. Authorities also have not offered an explanation.
Corry himself declined to provide a motive or elaborate on particulars, though he said he plans to return the money in full "sooner than later."
The signs were there
Others have wondered how the funds could have evaporated over such a long time without notice.
According to Daly, there was some "sloppy accounting" work done during Corry's tenure as board treasurer that led to questions being raised at board meetings. Signs were there, he admits.
"It's easy being the Monday morning quarterback [to] say we should have pushed further, we should have pursued it stronger," he said. "But again, we all have regular jobs and when you go to a board meeting with friends and coaches, you're not going to put somebody on the spot and say, 'You were supposed to have this, you were supposed to get that done.' Having said that, that's now changed."
Since August, the Shooting Stars board has enacted several preventative measures to ensure such events don't happen again.
Bank statements are now reviewed by several board members; finances are discussed and reviewed at board and coaches meetings; accounting systems have moved online and can be accessed by several board members; and coaches must have their team bank account at Glen Rock Savings Bank, among other new procedures and policies.
Transparency is now there, Daly contends. The club will be meeting shortly to determine how to use the restitution funds.
Corry: 'I realize I made a mistake'
Although he's allowed to attend his children's games as a spectator – which has upset some parents – Corry's days of coaching are over.
"That's one of my biggest regrets," he said. "I had dedicated a lot of time to the club and the kids, and that's the one thing I really miss. I miss coaching the kids, teaching them soccer."
Although many in town have expressed outrage at the embezzlement charges, Corry said he's also found support in Glen Rock, a place he called "a special town."
"I have four small kids, I'm trying to keep their lives as normal as possible and I appreciate the families of their friends who have pitched in," he said. "I realize I made a mistake – I am, like I said, very sorry to the families of the Shooting Stars and I want to make this right."
Shooting Stars, Corry both 'moving on'
Now that the dust has largely settled, the board president said he doesn't believe the members' overall faith in the organization has been compromised by the embezzlement case.
"Overwhelmingly, I think people felt the club acted the right way," he said.
Like Corry, the Shooting Stars are trying to put the incident behind them.
They managed to field 19 teams with 250 kids – three of which include Corry's children – this past fall.
"Our main focus is all about the kids," Daly said. "Shooting Stars has been around for a long, long time and our overall aim is to get back to providing a great experience for kids playing soccer."
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