Poland Pleads Not Guilty to Charges

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EmbezzlementST. JOHNSBURY – He was hired as a leader of the Lyndon State College baseball team, but police say the former coach embezzled approximately $10,000 before resigning mid-season earlier this year.

 

Edward Poland, 47, of 68 Park Street in Essex Junction, entered a plea of not guilty to one felony count of embezzlement in Caledonia Superior Court on Monday morning.

School officials at Lyndon State contacted police in May after finding the baseball team had spent nearly $25,000, but had only deposited $15,542 back to the program, according to an affidavit filed by Vermont State Police Sgt. Fred Cornell.

According to Cornell, Poland received personal checks written in his name totaling $7,320. The checks, which were clearly marked for use of the baseball team, were cashed and never deposited into a team account, police said.

School policy prohibits coaches from depositing money into their personal bank accounts, but members of the baseball team told police that Poland had said “if the check is made out to the school the team will not get all the money.”

In addition, court documents say Poland joined his players on a team trip to Florida where he spent thousands of dollars in unapproved expenses on the team's behalf, including the attendance of a Major League Baseball training game, a team dinner and transportation fees.

While in Florida, Poland also never distributed $1,600 to his 27 team members for meal money, Cornell said in the affidavit.

And there is also missing money from some of the team's fundraisers.  School financial documents show students were shorted from funds raised in a baseball raffle, a dinner dance and a “Flower Power” fundraiser. The team also received $1,200 in personal donations - $1,000 from the Trucott family and $200 from “McCabe” - but police say only $200 of that money was deposited.

“The money collected by Poland does not match what the school reported for deposits turned in by Poland or others on his behalf,” Cornell said.

Prior to being hired at Lyndon State, Poland coached at Saint Michael's College in Burlington and at Essex Junction High School for over a decade. Assistant coach Paul Trucott served as the team’s interim coach after Poland resigned.

In the affidavit filed December 17, Cornell concluded that Poland “diverted approximately $10,000 in fundraising monies” from the baseball team. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of not more than $500. At his arraignment, Poland was ordered not to work in any capacity in which he has control of money or property belonging to his employer.

The missing money, according to police, was meant for a team trip to Florida in the spring of 2013.