GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A former board member has been arrested for stealing funds from the Georgetown Little League.
A criminal complaint obtained by 24 Hour News 8 shows Victoria Elizabeth Hillard, 40, of Jenison is charged with embezzling between $20,000 and $50,000 from the organization.
“This is heartbreaking. Vicky is somebody who is a friend to many of us at the Georgetown Little League field. She certainly is a recognizable figure,” Joel Baar, the attorney representing the Georgetown Little League Board, told 24 Hour News 8 Wednesday.
Baar’s son played on the same team as Hillard’s. He said that while Hillard was president, she did a lot of good things for the little league organization, including bringing tournaments to the fields in the Jenison area.
“Sometimes trust causes opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t happen,” Baar said.
Baar said Hillard was acting as president and treasurer when she withdrew cash from the little league’s bank account during the off-season. The criminal complaint states the crimes happened between Nov. 23, 2016, and April 17, 2017.
Baar explained that when someone else took over the treasurer position, they noticed the withdrawals and questioned Hillard. That’s when she allegedly admitted to taking the money.
“At the end of the day, it added up to a pretty significant sum,” Baar said. “It impedes the ability of the little league to order new equipment, to upgrade the facilities. “
It’s unclear why Hillard did it or what she was using the money for.
“You don’t know what goes through someone’s mind. Oftentimes, embezzlement is a crime of opportunity and they don’t often look at who the victim is,” Baar said.
24 Hour News 8 went to Hillard’s home and tried calling her to learn what she was spending the money on, but couldn’t get in touch with her Wednesday.
In a statement to 24 Hour News 8, the Georgetown Little League said the person responsible no longer works for the league and a committee is working with a lawyer to get back the stolen money and “strengthen internal controls so that all measures are taken to hopefully prevent a similar situation from happening again in the future.”
If convicted on the felony charge, Hillard faces up to a decade in prison and could be forced to repay three times the amount she allegedly embezzled. Baar said she has apologized and promised to pay back the money.
The Georgetown Little League says it will sue Hillard for restitution, if necessary.
“The GLL Board takes this matter very seriously. It is certainly disappointing that GLL resources were stolen by a trusted Board member, who many of us consider a longtime friend. As stewards of GLL resources, the GLL Board takes its fiduciary duties very seriously – and these duties extend to holding people responsible for their actions. We also view this as a teachable moment for our community. There are consequences for misconduct, but there is also room for grace, mercy and forgiveness. If and when a sentence is handed down by the Judge assigned to this matter, the GLL Board looks forward to a process that it views as a step towards reconciliation,” the organization stated.
Hillard’s Linkedin page, which has since been taken down, also listed Hillard as a Children’s Protective Services investigator. When 24 Hour News 8 contacted the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, which runs CPS, regarding Hillard’s employment status, a spokesman said that as of Jan. 28, she was no longer an employee.