Club official admits guilt

JOHNSTOWN – A former Fulton United Soccer Club treasurer who was charged in October with stealing thousands of dollars from the club pleaded guilty to grand larceny Tuesday and is expected to serve 60 days in jail and make restitution.

Sandra Yost, 45, of 129 West Bush Road, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree grand larceny, a felony, in Fulton County Court.

She was accused of stealing from the youth soccer club from January 2007 through December 2011.

According to Fulton County Assistant District Attorney James Riley, Yost has agreed to serve the jail time as well as five years of probation. Under the plea agreement, Riley said, Yost will pay $19,290 in restitution to the soccer club and serve 250 hours of community service.

According to the agreement, if Yost has full-time employment at the time of sentencing, she will serve her 60 days in jail on weekends, Riley said.

When Yost was charged in October, police said she stole about $13,000, although after further investigation, authorities discovered she had taken $19,290, Riley said.

Yost is the wife of Fulton County Superintendent of Highways and Facilities Mark Yost.

Sandra Yost previously was charged with third-degree grand larceny, a felony. She could have faced up to seven years in state prison if she had been convicted on that charge, Fulton County District Attorney Louise Sira said.

An emotional Sandra Yost pleaded Tuesday before Acting Fulton County Court Judge Peter Feldstein in Fulton County Court.

Police said Yost spent the stolen money on personal use and fraudulently issued numerous checks to family members during her tenure as treasurer.

Feldstein told Yost if she gets into trouble with the law and is arrested before her July 15 sentencing, the plea arrangement with the district attorney’s office would be nullified, but her plea of guilty would not change.

Feldstein said the maximum sentence for fourth-degree grand larceny could be four years in prison if the plea arrangement were nullified.

Yost has been out of jail on $2,500 cash bail.

Feldstein said Yost has the option of starting to serve her sentence before the sentencing in Fulton County Court on July 15 at 10 a.m.

Yost was represented during the proceedings by attorney Robert Abdella of Gloversville.

Neither Abdella nor Yost would comment after the plea in court.

Sira previously said her office has no indication Mark Yost was involved in the matter or given any of the money allegedly taken from the club.

Riley said Sandra Yost had direct access to the business accounts of the soccer club in her role as treasurer.

Authorities had been investigating the alleged theft since 2012.

Gloversville Police Chief Donald VanDeusen said officials from the soccer club filed a complaint about missing money around March 2012.

Fulton United Soccer Club Recreational President Jim Yanno previously said the league noticed the money was missing after a routine review.

In a statement issued today, Yanno said, in part, “The Fulton United Soccer Club is pleased to have resolution to the situation.”

He said the league now has a system of checks and balances to safeguard money.

The league will determine the best way to use the money received in restitution, Yanno said.

The soccer league serves about 500 children ages 4 and older in Fulton County. Games and practices take place at Darling Field in Gloversville.

Detective Sgt. Mike Jory previously said the department only examined the five-year period due to the statute of limitations. He said Yost served as treasurer before that period as well.

The money allegedly was taken from Fulton United Soccer Club Recreational Soccer, which shares a portion of its name with the Fulton United Soccer Club Travel Soccer, but the two are separate organizations.

Levi Pascher can be reached at lpascher@leaderherald.com.