A Monmouth County man who coached a competitive youth softball team is facing charges of theft after he allegedly misused about $14,000 of the team’s funds earmarked for traveling expenses and tournament costs, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said on Wednesday.
Michael Lane, 54, of Neptune Township, was charged on Monday with third-degree theft by unlawful taking and third-degree misapplication of entrusted property by detectives from the Tinton Falls Police Department with assistance from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.
Lane, in his capacity as the coach for the Monmouth Surf softball team, a youth sports travel team created in 2013, received money from players intended to cover traveling expenses and tournament costs.
In July 2019, however, parents for the players were informed by Lane himself that he misused the funds given to him for personal use and the money was no longer available. He then informed parents he would pay back the funds but the player’s participation would have to be canceled.
When money was not refunded, parents reported the crime to law enforcement and an investigation by the Tinton Falls Police Department, with assistance from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, revealed the defendant had not, in fact, used the funds for the softball team. He had, instead, deposited roughly $14,000 of the stolen money into his personal account.
If convicted of the third-degree crimes, Lane faces up to five years in a New Jersey state prison on each count.
— Edited press release from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.
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