Arlene Moe pleaded not guilty Thursday to stealing more than $40,000 from the Gastineau Channel Little League.
Moe, the former treasurer of the league, was charged last month with felony theft and check forgery for writing herself unauthorized checks from the league's account on at least 57 occasions between August 2007 and September 2008. She faces up to 15 years in prison.
Moe appeared before Juneau Superior Court Judge Patricia Collins via telephone from Anchorage for the brief hearing. She is free on a $50,000 signature bond and recently moved to Anchorage.
A three-day trial is set to begin Oct. 5 in Juneau.
Jeff Duvernay, president of the league, said Moe's plea was "silly."
"I don't foresee this going to trial," he said. "The evidence is far too overwhelming."
The thefts came to the attention of the league's board of directors last summer after vendors Moe said were paid hadn't received money, Duvernay said.
"We went directly to the police," he said. "I felt that the acts were so numerous and the amounts so significant that it did not warrant discussing it with her at all."
Moe was isolated from the board in August and removed shortly thereafter. Prosecutors allege that Moe stole at least $40,660.33 from the league.
The board was shocked when the theft came to light, Duvernay said.
"Arlene had been a valuable member of the Little League organization for a number of years," he said, adding that she manipulated those she worked with. "She betrayed the trust that others had in her."
The league has weathered the losses with relative ease, Duvernay said.
"Actually, there are no adverse affects to our league at all, for a number of reasons," he said. "The first being we were insured, the second of which being we've really been on top of maximizing our revenue streams."
The league generates money through fundraisers, donations, fees, concession stands, grants and its annual youth camp. Its annual budget is around $200,000, which covers uniforms, equipment, the Little League charter, umpires, insurance, field use fees and more.
Duvernay said he wants to ensure the public that the league is not in financial trouble.
"The fact is we are more financially strong than we were this time last year," he said. "All of our revenue sources are coming in strong, our expenses are in line with where they should be, and we were still able to buy new gear and continue our league-wide upgrade of our uniforms."
The board also put new safeguards in place to keep something like this from happening again, Duvernay said. Payments to vendors are now handled by a two-person team with a third party observer to monitor the cash flow, for instance.
"This is very unlikely to happen again in the near future," he said.
Contact reporter Eric Morrison at 523-2269 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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