- Allison Goldsberry
A father and son who formerly served as president and treasurer of the West Medford Little League have been found guilty of embezzlement in connection with a theft which authorities estimate was between $50,000 and $100,000, according to information released by Middlesex District Attorney Marion Ryan.
Stanley Komins and Stephen Komins, both of Stoneham, were both found guilty of embezzlement over $250 and Stephen was also found guilty of forging a check and uttering a false check for incidents which occurred between 2007 and 2011.
Stanley was sentenced to two years of prison, one year to serve, with the balance suspended for two years, according to a statement released by the DA. He was also ordered to pay restitution of $35,000. His son Stephen was sentenced to one year of prison, six months to serve, with the balance suspended for two years. He was ordered to pay restitution of $5,000.
“The 2011-2012 Board members of the West Medford Hillside Little League organization should be commended for taking quick action on their suspicions of financial irregularities,” said District Attorney Ryan. “The Board immediately gained control of a terrible situation and their quick actions allowed the investigative process to move forward within hours. This case underscores the importance of internal checks and balances in non-profit settings. The defendants are going to be held accountable for their incredible breach of trust in defrauding people in the community.”
The Komins were charged in December 2012. According to authorities, Stanley Komins (pictured at right) was president of the board of directors of the West Medford Little League for more than twenty years while his son, Stephen, served as treasurer for many years.
It was Stanley’s retirement from the board in October 2011 that prompted an investigation. According to former Middlesex DA Gerry Leone, Komins refused to provide past records when the new board asked about the league’s finances. An auditing firm hired by the league “noticed discrepancies” in its records, which led to the Medford Police getting involved and launching an investigation in conjunction with the DA’s office.
According to authorities, between April 2007 and October 2011, Stanley allegedly wrote checks to himself from the little league account, something which he was not authorized to do. He cashed the checks or deposited them in his personal bank account, allegedly stealing $38,000 in this way. Additionally, between May 2009 and September 2011, Stanley is suspected of buying items from BJ’s Wholesale Club using little league money even though some of the items purchased had nothing to do with the operation of the league.
Stephen Komins also allegedly cashed league checks for his own personal use, according to DA Leone. Between December 2007 and July 2009, authorities say Stephen cashed a total of $4,000 in league checks. In the spring of 2011, Stephen allegedly had a friend cash the league checks and give the money back to him. Stephen is also accused of buying personal items from BJ’s with league money.
DA Leone said both Komins also took cash from the league’s refreshment stand, which was operated by one of them during games. Both men were the ones responsible for depositing the concession stand money into the league’s bank account, yet records show the deposits were “inconsistent” with the expected revenues from the snack sales.
Reached by Boston.com in 2012, Stanley Komins said he didn’t know anything about the charges against him. In an interview with Fox25 News that same year, Komins denied stealing any money and said he was reimbursing himself for league expenses.
Following the news of the charges, the West Medford Little League, which has since been folded into the Medford Little League, posted the following statement on its website:
“The current West Medford Hillside Little League is aware of the allegations of the past board members. In 2011 a new board was elected and became aware of the inconsistent and irregular accounting practices of the previous board. We hired an independent audit firm to review our financial records. We then handed over all documentation to the authorities. We continue to work at being transparent with the parents of West Medford and ensuring that we create a league that the community can be proud of,” said the statement.
A source interviewed in 2012 criticized the league and its board members for “willful blindness” to the situation.
“It made me sick to see what was going on and the number of people who knew about it and refused to do anything,” said the source.
According to the source, the audit revealed financial losses of over $100,000. The league has been able to recoup about $35,000 due to an insurance policy that paid out if theft could be proven. The “blatant” theft, said the source, was so obvious, the insurance company paid the league in just fourteen days.
The source said parents and board members were aware of wrong-doings but were afraid of their children being retaliated against.
“It was the best-known secret in Medford,” said the source.
According to an Article of Organization filed with the Secretary of State’s office, the league was established in 1984 and Stanley Komins was one of the founding directors.
The document states, in part “…said youth baseball program is to be under the proper supervision and direction of men and women of good character, for boys and girls…to provide capable men and women of high moral character as directors of the league, who will accept only those persons of similar high character into the league to act in the best interests of the boys and girls participating in the league program.”
The document also states that none of its earnings should benefit or be distributed to the league’s directors or members.