He said police investigated a complaint from "suspicious" parent
volunteers in the American Youth Soccer Organization for the last
"Detectives served several search warrants to obtain records from
his home, office and bank," Shulman said. "We determined based on
those documents that the allegations against Mr. Anish are true."
Anish pleaded not guilty to the charges Wednesday afternoon. He is
out on a $50,000 bail.
Anish began serving as the AYSO's interim regional commissioner in
February 2001. Nine months later, he became the regional
commissioner, in which capacity he collected and maintained money
from registration and fund-raising. He held that position until last
Anish is also facing a civil lawsuit filed by the AYSO in June
that seeks general damages to collect the amount that he allegedly
spent for his own purposes. Anish could not be reached for comment.
His attorney, Jerry Werksman, said Anish "has explanations for
where the money went."
"He had never intended to steal," he said. "We're asking for an
audit, and if he owes money, he'll pay."
Werksman said Anish has been involved in youth sports for more
than 20 years as an amateur coach, referee and commissioner.
"He feels passionately about helping kids play soccer, and he
would never do anything to hurt the league or his own reputation," he
said. "He is not a thief."
Anish's arrest is "disappointing but not surprising," said Mike
Barr, AYSO Region 120 commissioner.
"They had to find the missing money somehow," he said. "It was a
lot of money."
Barr said not having this huge chunk of funds has affected the
league, which supports about 1,500 students.
"Both Costa Mesa and Newport Beach need more lighted soccer
fields," he said. "This money has also helped us keep our
registration fees lower."
The league now has several protections in place to prevent such
incidents in the future, Barr said.
"We have pretty strict guidelines," he said. "Our checks now
require two signatures. Our bank statements are reviewed by several
Mike Wade, the attorney representing the AYSO in the civil lawsuit
against Anish, said he is pleased with Anish's arrest.
"We hope we'll get our day in court so that justice can finally be
served," he said. "Hopefully, this will discourage people from taking
advantage of their neighbors' trust and goodwill."
Wade said the civil lawsuit will most likely be put on hold until
the criminal case is sorted out.
Anish's next court hearing in the criminal case is scheduled for
Oct. 27 at the Harbor Justice Center.
* DEEPA BHARATH covers public safety and courts. She may be
reached at (949) 574-4226 or by e-mail at email@example.com.