Chesapeake woman enters guilty plea in youth baseball league embezzlement case

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — A Chesapeake woman has been convicted of embezzling money from a youth baseball league.

Jenny DiRese had been accused of stealing money from the Western Branch Athletic Club (WBAC) while working at the concession stand. On Monday, she entered an Alford plea, according to her attorney Carmelou Aloupas.

An Alford plea is a guilty plea, in which the defendant maintains his or her innocence.

“Ms. DiRese has maintained from the beginning that she did not take the money; rather, she trusted another concession worker to make deposits and the deposits were not made,” writes Aloupas in an email. “As she signed the deposit slips and concession forms for WBAC, Ms. DiRese believed that ultimately, she was responsible for the money.”

DiRese was given a three-year suspended prison sentence with supervised probation and an order to pay $3,900 in restitution to the club.

Aloupas told 10 On Your Side that the full restitution amount was handed to WBAC board members via a cashier’s check during the hearing on Monday.

DiRese was arrested in November. According to court documents, the thefts occurred during the 2015 season, from March 28 to June 6.  A post on the WBAC Facebook page had said there were nearly $4,000 in missing funds.

WBAC’s website says it’s a “100 percent volunteer self-supported organization and is financially responsible for league operation.” Many baseball leagues in the area depend on concession sales to operate the league.

Board members from WBAC couldn’t be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Multiple board members were subpoenaed to testify during DiRese’s preliminary hearing.

Parent McArthur Smith previously told 10 On Your Side that the embezzlement is disappointing.

“I think that’s absurd,” said Smith. “Shouldn’t do that to kids.”

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