PALM SPRINGS – Investigators searched the home of a former La Quinta youth soccer official this week in a felony embezzlement probe involving more than $108,000 in local American Youth Soccer Organization funds, it was reported today.
The warrants were served at Sharon Schumaier’s home and at Desert Cities Automotive in Indio, a business she co-owns with her husband, Jeff, according to court records cited by the Desert Sun of Palm Springs.
“Based on the investigation, it appears Sharon could’ve been embezzling money from AYSO for approximately two-and-a-half years,” investigator Brad Farwell wrote in support of an affidavit for the search warrants, the Desert Sun reported.
The Schumaiers could not be reached for comment by City News Service, but a relative in Indio said he would relay a message to them.
Andrew Nielsen, acting La Quinta AYSO regional commissioner, confirmed Friday that a criminal investigation is underway, the Desert Sun reported.
Most of the La Quinta AYSO’s funds come from registration fees, Nielsen said.
Sharon Schumaier, who served as regional commissioner from 2006 to 2009, was asked to resign last month, the Desert Sun reported.
In a posting on the league’s Web site at the time, La Quinta AYSO Area Director Jim Engel said the decision to replace Schumaier was made “in order to assure the uninterrupted continuation of the AYSO soccer program in La Quinta.”
Schumaier at the time said she received a letter from Engel requesting her resignation, but countered that she asked to be relieved of her duties because the job of commissioner was becoming too much work for her, the Desert Sun reported.
The American Youth Soccer Organization is the largest single-entity youth soccer association in the U.S., with more than 50,000 teams, 650,000 registered players and 225,000 volunteers, according to the AYSO.
The organization was established in the Los Angeles area in 1964 with nine teams. The founders started the organization in a garage, according to the AYSO.