DURANT, Okla. – A former board member for an Oklahoma baseball league has pleaded not guilty after being accused of embezzling thousands of dollars from the group.
In January, Durant police say the Durant OK Kids Baseball League discovered that thousands of dollars were missing from its account. Authorities say the league realized that the commissioner of the board, Justin Alberda, had allegedly embezzled over $14,000 between May and December of 2018.
Before Alberda was arrested, the organization launched a petition to remove Alberda from his position on the board.
“The members of the Durant OK Kids Baseball League can no longer tolerate this kind of supposed leadership,” the petition said. “Justin Alberda continues to degrade the integrity of this league as a whole. We need a leader who is honest, fair, and upholds the rules.”
Investigators told KTEN that Alberda used the money to go on vacations to Branson and Las Vegas. Other funds were spent at restaurants and bars.
“There were various places that had no affiliation or benefit to the kids’ league at all,” Detective Drew Hale told KTEN.
Police interviewed Alberda, who reportedly admitted to embezzling the money with intentions of paying it back over time. Police reports say that Alberda planned to pay the funds back with entry fees for tournaments he wanted to host.
However, he says the tournaments never made enough money to pay back what he took. According to KXII, Alberda told participants that proceeds from one tournament would go to the Pregnancy Center of Bryan County. Despite that claim, he never actually donated the money because he said he didn’t make enough.
According to online court records, Alberda was charged with one count of embezzlement in Bryan County District Court.
On Tuesday, he pleaded not guilty to the charge.