Crime

Hancock business owner embezzled almost $30,000 from softball little league, cops say

Stacey Cato

Sea Coast Echo

Robin Gill
Robin Gill

A Bay St. Louis businesswoman and volunteer for the Mississippi West Coast Softball League has been arrested for embezzling nearly $30,000 from the team, officials with the Hancock County Sheriff's Office said Monday.

Robin Gill, 45, turned herself in to authorities on Monday, said Hancock Sheriff’s Investigator A.J. Gambino said.

Investigators launched an investigation when complainants met with Hancock County sheriff's officials in May 2017, after filing a report with the Waveland Police Department.

Gambino said others affiliated with the little league became worried there had been wrongdoing in January 2017 when they discovered the league's account was at a negative balance. The insufficient funds, Gambino said, meant the softball league was unable to begin registration and provide continued service to many children for the year.

“The Mississippi West Coast Softball League’s bank account was funded by private donations of individuals and through fundraisers by the children who were associated with the league,” Gambino said.

During their investigation, Gambino said, investigators discovered that some time between March 2016 and July 2017, Gill had stolen a total of $29,050 from a bank account belonging to the little league. When statements were checked, he said, the account balance had been less than a dollar since late the previous year.

Gambino said it was also discovered through the investigation that Gill had made several cash withdrawals from Regions Bank. Funds were then funneled, he said, into multiple local business accounts belonging to Gill.

Those businesses – with which Gill's association was confirmed through the Mississippi and Louisiana secretary of state's offices – were C&K Waste Services, Inc.; Seafood & More, LLC; and a Louisiana-based business, Pearl River Waste, LLC.

This past July, Gambino said, Investigators with the HCSO met with Gill, at which time she admitted to transferring funds from the little league account into the three business accounts to "cover shortcomings in business operations," she told officials.

“Embezzlement means converting funds entrusted to you for personal use,” Gambino explained. “In this situation, Gill personally gained by using those funds entrusted to her to make sure her businesses were able to stay afloat."

Gambino said Gill had deposited most of the funds taken from the little league account back into the account.

“Gill still owes in excess of $2,000 which was never paid back to the Mississippi West Coast Softball League,” he said. “Even though deposits were made from Gill back into the Mississippi West Coast Softball League bank account, in theory, those deposits could be considered donations due to how the Mississippi West Coast Softball League’s funds were collected. In other words, even though Robin Gill had signatory authority of the account, the bank account was not her personal bank account to appropriate the funds it contained.”

Gill was charged with felony embezzlement and booked into the Hancock County Jail shortly before noon on Monday after turning herself in.

“All the facts and circumstances will be provided to the District Attorney’s office and they will pursue an outcome of this case,” Gambino.

Mississippi law states that embezzlement in the amount of $25,000 or more holds a penalty of not more than 20 years and fines not more than $25,000.

Gill was released later Monday on a $7,500 bond.

An initial court date in the case has been scheduled for Nov. 14.

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