by April Scheinoha
A Fosston man has been charged in Pennington County District Court after he allegedly stole $18,908 in gaming funds from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2793 in Thief River Falls.
Sterling Williams II, 40, has been charged with two felony counts of theft. Williams had been employed as the post’s gaming manager at the time of the thefts. He allegedly stopped going to work after he was told the VFW post commander wished to speak with him about the missing games.
The alleged thefts occurred between March 1, 2015, and Dec. 31, 2015. The complaint was filed Monday, May 16. Williams appeared in court Monday, June 6. Another court appearance is set for Monday, June 20. He hasn’t yet completed the booking process.
The charges stemmed from a Jan. 25 report to the Thief River Falls Police Department, according to the complaint. The commander and an accountant, who was auditing the VFW’s books, found that the post was missing games. The games were later found, but the corresponding money hadn’t been deposited into the VFW’s gaming bank account. The commander and accountant believed that Williams used proceeds from the other games to hide the missing money.
The police investigator later determined that net proceeds from 71 games hadn’t been deposited. The money totalled $18,908. Williams was responsible for opening and closing each game. He would write the deposit slips and list the corresponding games’ serial numbers on them. The commander would then deposit the money.
The commander said that Williams was supposed to audit each game once a month in his presence. However, Williams allegedly seemed to complete the audits when the commander was gone.
Williams had been late on some of his monthly audits for the games. The VFW had spoken with him about having another employee assist him in November 2015. He declined. Two months later, Williams was again approached about that possibility and reluctantly agreed. The other employee allegedly found that “games were everywhere and nothing was organized,” according to the complaint.