After almost two years of struggling to keep themselves afloat, Ferris’ club lacrosse team has finally begun to gain restitution from an embezzlement scandal that left the team with little hope for the future.
According to acting president of the club, Ethan Leppanen, the team filed charges with the Department of Public Safety (DPS) against former president, Kieran McAlister, accusing him of charging more than $5,000 to the team’s credit card.
Leppanen uncovered the theft as the team’s treasurer at the time.
“When I went to check our finances, I discovered large sums missing based on how much I had deposited,” Leppanen said. “I then requested bank statements for one year and that’s when I discovered what he was actually doing with our bank account. Charges ranged from pizza at Little Caesars, to posting his bail at a different county jail for other charges he was arrested for.”
The scandal caused the lacrosse team to be put on probation by the CLACS office. They were no longer allowed to travel, resulting in them being forced to cancel all road games. The loss of funds made it impossible to host home games, so their spring 2016 season came to a screeching halt.
“Since he was charged criminally, I was the representative for our team during court proceedings. I wrote a victim impact statement on behalf of the team and testified during a restitution hearing as to the amount that he stole. The process of the restitution hearing involved going line item by line item and contesting whether or not the charge was justified to our account,” Leppanen said.
In hopes of gaining some of the money back, a GoFundMe page was started to replace the stolen money.
“Only part of the money has been reimbursed by him so far. We have received around $3,000 from him and are still waiting on more,” Leppanen said.
McAlister still owes upwards of $2,000 to the club. He received some jail time to be served on weekends, allowing him to work during the week to repay the amount stolen.
As for a time line on when that money will be reimbursed, Leppanen isn’t holding his breath.
“I don’t expect to get the remaining amount very soon,” Leppanen said.
Click here for the initial report of embezzlement on Ferris’ club lacrosse team.