A 36-year-old Bellevue woman surrendered to authorities Wednesday in connection with the Phoenix Futbol Club's allegation that she embezzled $150,000 from the soccer organization.
Michelle Williamson was booked into the Sarpy County Jail on suspicion of theft over $1,500, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
The club's attorney, Bill Bianco of Omaha, said Williamson was the club's registrar as well as a former board member. Her paid duties included collecting players' registration fees and making sure the coaches were paid.
A teary-eyed Williamson declined to comment as she waited to be booked. She was accompanied by her attorney, Donald L. Schense of Bellevue, and her husband, Jim Williamson. Schense said his client plans to plead not guilty.
“At this point, we are going to wait to get our hands on all of the reports,” he said. “A forensic accountant is going to be required to determine what, if any, amount of loss occurred. We'll simply take it one step at a time.”
Michelle Williamson remained in jail and will have a bail hearing Friday.
Bianco said the Nebraska Department of Revenue also is investigating Williamson.
The Phoenix Futbol Club, based in Papillion, said it discovered financial irregularities after a new treasurer performed an audit. Accountants and the Internal Revenue Service reviewed the club's finances before turning the case over to Bellevue police earlier this year.
The club continues to operate and is open to youths between the ages of 5 and 19. It currently has 24 teams — with 300 youths — from across the Omaha area.
Schense said the Williamsons have five children, several of whom have been involved with the club.
“My client and her family have been very actively involved and engaged with the Phoenix club for a number of years,” Schense said. “They certainly don't want to see anything bad happen to the club. ... They have a history.”
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