Pleasanton man charged with embezzling from Little League

Police: Ex-PALL president used money from league accounts to pay for family vacation

A former president of Pleasanton American Little League was arrested Thursday morning after police allege he stole more than $20,000 from the league's accounts, using some of the money to pay for a family trip to Southern California.

Jeremy Lee Cardera, 35, of Pleasanton was booked into the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin on felony charges of embezzlement and passing a bad check, according to Pleasanton police Sgt. Kurt Schlehuber.

Police began their investigation in late December after receiving reports of $20,708.91 being taken from Pleasanton American Little League financial accounts, with then-president Cardera being identified as the culprit, Schlehuber said.

According to the sergeant, when league representatives confronted Cardera about the suspicious financial transactions, he quickly resigned as league president and later attempted to repay the league by writing a personal check from an account that had insufficient funds to cover the payment.

Police allege Cardera paid for a family vacation to Southern California by using money stolen from the league's bank accounts. Schlehuber said investigators verified the trip through bank statements, hotel reservation records and photographs posted to social media.

According to Schlehuber, investigators also found that Cardera made cash withdrawals at an ATM and inside banks, and a majority of the withdrawals from Pleasanton American Little League accounts occurred on the same day he deposited money into his personal bank account.

In most cases, the amount taken from the league account matched the amount deposited into Cardera's account, the sergeant added.

Pleasanton police took Cardera into custody on an arrest warrant early Thursday morning, booking him into the county jail around 8:15 a.m. with bail set at $20,000, according to the Alameda County Sheriff's Office website.

He is scheduled to be arraigned in court Friday morning, according to the sheriff's website.

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10 people like this
Posted by Jerk
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2015 at 9:13 pm

What a complete jerk, that is awful! How could anyone think they could get away with that? Is he on drugs or something?

5 people like this
Posted by Longtimer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2015 at 11:43 pm

How disappointing and disgusting that we have that kind of scum living among us. Small, neighborly, charitable, 'voluntary' positions...why? why? Maybe these groups need to have at least a team of 2 handle money, even though they deal with small change, we have to ask why?

2 people like this
Posted by Ed
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 6, 2015 at 7:52 am

Very shameful. Used the funds for a family trip did he? I wonder what he told his wife when she asked "How are you paying for all this?"

2 people like this
Posted by exactly
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 6, 2015 at 8:22 am

You nailed it Ed: that's why the IRS grants so very few claims of "innocent spouse" when huge tax assessments are made. Let's see, you live in Ruby Hill, you drive a brand new BMW SUV, your kids go to private school and you get your mani/botox regularly. And you really think that your husband's construction business loses money every year. Right. And that story actually comes right from the real criminal files of a family who used to live among us. Not sure which Federal prison they reside in now.

No matter how small the organization no one person should ever have complete control of the money. At the very least a second person, from within or outside of the organization, needs to review the money files. It's not rocket science to figure that one out.

Like this comment
Posted by D W
a resident of Livermore
on Feb 6, 2015 at 8:43 am

Don't ever let this guy anywhere near children. What a disgusting act!

7 people like this
Posted by Ball player
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 6, 2015 at 8:44 am

This is of course a horrible situation, and to the significant detriment of the kids. We can't imagine what his thought process was, or indeed what his family thought, and thinks of this. But to shift the conversation...

This is also a travesty for the league to have allowed a single individual signer for checks, and not have had monthly/quarterly/annual financial statements overseen by a financial professional. Having coached, managed and played a significant amount of LL and Legion ball, I' ve seldom seen such a disregard for normal, and standard business operating procedure.

Whether it's a billion $ or small business, checks and balances and standard accounting procedures have to be followed or the temptation will arise. In spite of being a CEO or GM you must have second signatures (ie CFO or accountant) on all checks of a significant amount. That is the league's responsibilty to ensure adequate controls, and it is their fiduciary responsibility. In today's world, it's not enought to just provide a quality learning experience for the kids, but to also ensure sustainability.

We don't know if the league had such standard processes in place or whether there is more to the story with other collaborators. But they better get on top of this quickly, and get their processes in order.

5 people like this
Posted by Panwoman
a resident of Livermore
on Feb 6, 2015 at 8:48 am

Stealing from little kids? What a loser. I hope he has to pay back every cent plus interest. And shame on the league for not having better controls over their money.

13 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 6, 2015 at 8:57 am

It is truly unfortunate that someone would steel money from Little League. The guy is probably not "scum" or a "complete jerk" but somehow felt the need to "keep up" in this increasingly difficult time for many.
It's too bad that he couldn't have just tried to be the best dad and husband he could be without needing to impress everyone with a lavish vacation. I do hope he gets the help he needs and that this doesn't destroy his family. I am also in agreement that the Little League needs to do a better job of assigning responsibility over their finances.

33 people like this
Posted by He has kids too
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 6, 2015 at 9:21 am

What he did was wrong and very hard to comprehend but let us not forget he has children Who are in this community and who do not deserve the wrath of their father's mistakes

1 person likes this
Posted by Me
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2015 at 9:38 am

Theft from not for profit sporting organizations is alarmingly common. Being an officer in these organizations is a lot of thankless work. This leads to a lot of turnover and a lack of separation of duties, along with no one minding the shop. Ripe for exploitation.

A little league is even worse, where many if not most of the board members participate to further their kids status in the league. Inclusion in all start teams, starting six, pitching spots etc..

While the Pleasanton Police are at it they should look into the high school sports where bribery has been institutionalized (selling similar favoritism by lining their pockets through their for profit club teams) This is common place in Baseball.

1 person likes this
Posted by Sam Ramon
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 6, 2015 at 9:55 am

He'll look better in horizontal stripes.

Play ball (and chain)!

Like this comment
Posted by Harold
a resident of Happy Valley
on Feb 6, 2015 at 10:22 am

isn't this suspect innocent until proven guilty?

...if there is a conviction, the penalty should be beating by a little league baseball bat.

17 people like this
Posted by Ump
a resident of Donlon Elementary School
on Feb 6, 2015 at 10:53 am

Strike three!

These organizations require countless volunteer hours, with few parents stepping up to help out. Just getting parents to get their kids to practice on time is hard work. Set a practice date and hear 6 parents tell the story on how inconvenient it is for their schedules. Everyone thinks they could do better, but don't put in the time. The only reward is a smile from a kid. Oh, and maybe, just maybe their kid gets slight favoritism for an all star team. My kid ain't an all star so I don't have to worry about him getting short changed. This guy stepped up. He coached teams and cared about the kids. I have seen him in action and he wasn't a jerk.

But then, he couldn't/didn't help himself. Lost sight of the kids. Got greedy. The controls must have caught this quickly, since he was just recently elected. I wonder if this is the first time he stole. as a restaurant manager, he probably had other easy opportunities.

I hope he spends some time in prison, pays the money back, and then gets back to his children. Good luck finding a job. He will be hated in the community for how he took advantage of the kids and the other volunteers.

1 person likes this
Posted by NoName
a resident of Avila
on Feb 6, 2015 at 11:08 am

UMPS comments are right on!! His kids will pay for mistake unfortunately.

5 people like this
Posted by Eric
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Feb 6, 2015 at 11:37 am

What the heck goes through the minds of these people? They more than likely get caught and their families life is ruined. Great legacy, stealing from kids. Yes, the league needs to rethink their book keeping practices.

Like this comment
Posted by Marie
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 6, 2015 at 11:44 am

Many years ago a lady embezzled funds from a local swim club, she had to pay the money back but she never got an jail time.

1 person likes this
Posted by Oliver Klosoff
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 6, 2015 at 11:44 am

this smells like collusion

3 people like this
Posted by Longtimer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2015 at 1:15 pm

Using it for a trip removes any possibility for any rational 'excuse'...there simply are zero excuses for a trip. Unless he is sufficiently punished for stealing money, the children will not learn from the situation. Better said, they must the taught that crime does not pay. Visible and punitive financial punishment must be meted out accordingly. This will be a learning experience either way... either crime pays OR, crime does not pay and does have consequences.

2 people like this
Posted by Concerned parent
a resident of Fairlands Elementary School
on Feb 6, 2015 at 2:53 pm

What a total embarrassment and not a very good coach. Somehow he thought he could abuse his position and get away with it. He sort of tried to pay it back so that's an admission of guilt. Shameful behavior - stealing from our kids, coaches, managers,umps, volunteers and the whole community.

7 people like this
Posted by Former PALL Parent
a resident of Parkside
on Feb 6, 2015 at 3:37 pm

I have served on the board of PALL, and while I was on the board, we had a system of checks and balances. The President did not handle the money, and when a withdrawal/payment had to be made, there were always two people required for this transaction.Financial statements were presented to the board on a regular basis. Complete transparency.
Unfortunately, it appears that with the recent leadership, this has changed. Please do not make excuses for this man's poor choices. There have been and continue to be many caring, responsible adults who have stepped up to coach and support Little League, all the while adhering to decent principles. Don't make living in an affluent society an excuse to steal because they felt they needed to 'keep up with the neighbors'.

14 people like this
Posted by Ump
a resident of Donlon Elementary School
on Feb 6, 2015 at 4:10 pm

Former pall parent

I think when the facts come out, you will see the great lengths Jeremy went through to get his hands on the money. I don't pretend to know all of the details, but learned enough of the details since I had the same question and i paid fees to PALL. The fact that it got caught immediately is a testament to financial checks and balances in place. There are times you can't stop it (eg, one can forge two signatures, grab money from the cash register), but you can detect it.

This wasn't going on for years or even months. I am not in the inner circle, aren't friends with the circle, but learned enough to have full confidence in the board and the checks and balances. Follow the trial, and then judge the current board. Or, go to the next board and ask your questions. I appreciate what they are doing for my kid.

4 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 6, 2015 at 4:49 pm

Seems like every 6 months or so we read about some dumb smuck getting caught with their pants down after ripping off some organization, or company that put a little trust in them to handle their finances, shame on them for not having proper checks and balances, if you dangle that carrot out there long enough somebody's going to grab it!! Maybe it's time to get serious about locking these clowns up instead of just a slap on the hand and a promise to pay back the money- 2 or 3 years in jail minimum sleeping with one eye open and their backs to the wall might be a deterrent to future knucleheads.

3 people like this
Posted by Ed
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 9, 2015 at 7:33 am

If he needed the money for say, an emergency operation for his kid and was desperate and had no where else to go, I might have some sympathy for the guy. This doesn't make stealing money an ok thing to do but at least he wouldn't seem like such a selfish doofus.

2 people like this
Posted by the warning track...
a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2015 at 4:44 pm

I've known this clown for some time now. He's shady, period. His family never knew any of this was going on. He's a habitual liar and shouldn't be trusted. I feel for his wife and four children that will now be outcasts in their community. And shame on those who feel this was a "Bonnie and Clyde" scenario. He kept her in the dark.
I feel for all those at the little league and all those that donate time to show the kids core values of sportsmanship.

1 person likes this
Posted by Ed
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 11, 2015 at 9:19 am

@to the warning track

Yep, he's no saint. Still though, I can't understand how his wife was kept in the dark.
I know if I suddenly had an extra $20K my wife would be real suspicious and curious.

3 people like this
Posted by adjacent acquaintance
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 28, 2015 at 6:34 pm

Apologies for length but we've been wanting to "reach out" in some way to the family for quite sometime & simply said, we're just not sure how to best go about such a thing w/out making the wife & kids feel any worse than they already surely do. Of course we along with most others who've taken the time to comment wish to show support for both the kids & wife who we've known of for quite sometime.

We've known of the family for yrs...our kids have gone to school w/their kids since preschool....our kids also play/played in LL as currently. Although I don't consider ourselves close w/the family I have to agree in that I too find it hard to believe the wife knew anything whatsoever of the stolen funds. Sure, it's possible I suppose, however by the same token I don't think it's all that out of the realm of possibilities to hide something as such from a spouse....especially one who wants nothing to do w/all things finances. My spouse is just that type & feel there's many other spouses out there who simply prefer to "tune out" w/re to all things finances...perhaps not the best way to handle things....but then again I suppose many feel "if you can't trust your spouse....." just as my wife does.

Having said all this I'd just like to say that I really feel for the kids as well in addition to the wife. All completely innocent victims imo. Should they happen to be reading this, although I've chosen to go anonymous, please know that we always do our best to put ourselves in the shoes of others & of course also try to instill this trait in our kids as well. W/this said, we certainly hope that as far as your kids are concerned, we trust your kids all continue to be treated no different than they were prior to this horrible event. As for the spouse who from all accounts and from my past personal experiences (albeit fairly limited through the yrs...approx 10 now I'd say or since our kids pre-school days) is nothing short of a caring, good nature'd & an honest person. You've been fairly well known in our community as far as lending a helping hand in the classrooms and other family setting venues. We've always known you to be a very active & positive contributor whose been nothing but supportive of countless school events through the yrs in volunteering your time. Please know that as you continue to try & move forward from this (haven't seen you since this story became public & have no clue as to the current family status/situation) that we truly feel terrible for you. Both the wife & wonderful kids they've raised (& I believe I'm speaking for many others when I say least those of us who know of the family as we do) are certainly not deserving to be placed in such a terrible position. A dark/seedy cloud for which I truly believe they were never aware of. We hope by now enough time has passed to where the situation has resolved itself to a point which the family has been able to move forward in a positive, healthy fashion.

As for the father, all I'll say is that it makes me so incredibly ill just thinking of all the BS you put your fam through. We trust by now arrangements have been made to re-pay the LL funds & any other additional legal obligations (fines, time served, etc.) brought on by this act have all since been addressed or continues to be a work in it should be. Other than this, nothing more needs to be said that hasn't already been need to "pile on" anymore as far as we're concerned so we'll just leave it at this as far as you, the "father" is concerned.

Sorry it took so long to finally say all this. Of course I've been thinking that if/when I ever happen to run into the wife around town that I most likely wont say anything at all. Needless to say, the very last thing I/we wish to do in showing her & or the kids support is to make them feel anymore uncomfortable than they've already been made to feel. Such a stigma that I wouldn't wish upon anyone....I don't even wanna imagine. The best I suppose we can all do is simply show the kids & wife as much support as we can as we all move on.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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