NEWS

Richmond soccer mom sentenced for $200,000 fraud

01/16/2012 04:48 EST | Updated 03/17/2012 05:12 EDT

A provincial court judge sentenced the former treasurer of the Richmond Youth Soccer Association to two years in jail Monday for defrauding the organization of more than $200,000.

Debbie Judd served as the RYSA's treasurer from 1998 to 2003, when board members began raising suspicions about a series of bounced cheques on the association's account.

An audit later determined Judd had embezzled money and fooled board members into signing blank cheques which ultimately wound up in her bank account.

"In many ways, the entire sporting community of Richmond was victimized," Richmond Provincial Court Judge Patrick Chen said as he sentenced the former soccer mum on Monday morning.

"The real victims were the thousands of young people who would have benefited greatly from the monies the accused stole."

Chen said an investigation revealed Judd falsified bank records and annual reports pertaining to the association's accounts. She also invented an audit to cover her tracks.

RYSA consists of four soccer clubs with 1,600 players who range in age from three to 18. In her role as treasurer, Judd had full access to finances and bank accounts.

During the time of the fraud, Judd's own family finances were deteriorating. Without the stolen cash, Chen said "her family would have been deeply in debt."

The fraud was reported to RCMP in 2004, but charges weren't laid until June 2009. Chen said Judd pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

He also said the allegations have had a "significant impact" on Judd's family. Their children have been taunted and she's lost social contact with former friends at the RYSA.

The family moved to Alberta at one point where her husband found work as a soccer coach, but he later lost that job.

One of Judd's older children appeared to be in the courtroom for the sentencing. The two made eye contact as a sheriff led Judd away. She also has a seven-year-old son.

Chen rejected the Crown's recommendation of three years out of a desire not to make the boy another victim of his mother's crimes.

Judd has no prior criminal history. But Chen said she deserved jail time because she took advantage of a vulnerable organization staffed by volunteers.

"She was in fact the leader of the RYSA," he said. "The directors saw her as someone they could trust."

Chen also ordered Judd to make restitution of $204,407 to the RYSA.

MORE:cbcNews