Soccer mom pleads guilty to embezzling $174,000 from youth sports club

A Long Beach woman pleaded guilty Friday to embezzling and laundering more than $174,000 from a Fullerton youth soccer club where she served as treasurer, Orange County Superior Court records show.

Laura A. Zellerbach, 41, pleaded guilty to single counts of embezzlement, money laundering, falsifying records and computer fraud. Twenty-two additional felony counts of computer fraud were dismissed, court records show.

She was sentenced to five years' probation, one year in jail and was
ordered to pay $227,000 in restitution. Zellerbach has already paid $106,000 in restitution, according to the Orange County district attorney's office.

From 2013 to 2015, Zellerbach served as treasurer of the Fullerton Rangers Youth Soccer Club, where her son was a team member. She had access to all of the individual team accounts and club organization accounts, prosecutors said.

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The Fullerton Police Department received a tip from the soccer club in May 2015 alleging Zellerbach had embezzled more than $30,000 while treasurer. She resigned from her post after soccer club board members began questioning her about the organization’s finances.

Zellerbach also handled the finances for Zellcorp Inc., a business she and her husband owned when the crime occurred, according to the D.A.'s office. Her husband has not been charged, district attorney spokesman Chris Kim said.

Prosecutors said Zellerbach embezzled more than $174,000 from the soccer club by transferring money from the various team accounts into her own personal account. She also withdrew club money from a bank and ATM and through debit card transactions.

She laundered the embezzled money by transferring the funds into her personal accounts and using the money as capital loans from her personal account to fund Zellcorp Inc., the district attorney said.

Zellerbach also withdrew more than $20,000 for a cashier’s check to partially pay for a European vacation for her children, prosecutors said.

Started in 1963, the nonprofit soccer club had more than 2,000 players during the 2013-14 season, according to its website.

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