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Shelby Township man pleads guilty to embezzling youth baseball team's funds, pays $21,440 in restitution

Detroit – A Shelby Township man pled guilty March 28 in 16th Circuit Court, Mount Clemens, to embezzlement from a nonprofit or charitable organization and paid $21,440 in restitution to the Detroit Metro Stars youth baseball team whose funds he admitted stealing.

Joseph Wallace Wolf Jr., 51, also pled guilty to two misdemeanor counts of improper disposition of proceeds from charitable gaming events. He was charged Aug. 5, 2015, following a joint investigation by the Michigan Gaming Control Board and the Michigan Attorney General’s office (see Aug. 6, 2015, MGCB news release).

“While we are pleased the Detroit Metro Stars will receive restitution, we hope other charitable organizations will take note and institute proper financial procedures to discourage embezzlement or theft of charitable gaming funds,” said Richard Kalm, MGCB executive director. “We enforce Michigan law to ensure nonprofits and their causes truly benefit from charitable gaming.”

Four other felony counts were dropped as part of the plea agreement, which required full payment of restitution. 

Wolf Jr. will be sentenced May 11 by Judge Joseph Toia.  The felony count is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $15,000 or three times the amount embezzled, whichever is greater.  Each misdemeanor count is punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

Wolf Jr. admitted to embezzling more than $1,000 from the nonprofit organization between 2012 and 2014. Investigators say he spent the baseball charity’s funds to buy a vehicle, travel to Florida, pay his mother’s monthly mobile telephone bills, make a house payment and pay personal vehicle repair bills for himself and other family members.

Detroit Metro Stars Baseball held 32 days of charity poker in 2012 and 2013 at The River, a Shelby Township bar. 

The MGCB regulates charity poker and examines charities’ records to ensure fundraising dollars are properly spent.

“The Michigan Gaming Control Board shall ensure the conduct of fair and honest gaming to protect the interests of the citizens of the State of Michigan.”