FREEHOLD – A Neptune Township man who coached a competitive youth softball team is facing charges of theft after he misused about $14,000 of the team’s funds earmarked for traveling expenses and tournament costs, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Michael Lane, 54, of Neptune Township, was charged 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) since 2013, received money from players to cover traveling expenses and tournament costs. But last July 2019, parents for the players were informed by Lane 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 paid back, 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 did not utilize the funds for the softball team and instead deposited approximately $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.
The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Diane Aifer.
Lane is represented by Jacqueline E. Cistaro, Esq. of New York.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.
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