Ex-secretary repays Pasco wrestling club $6,989

Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City HeraldNovember 10, 2013 

Wrestlers with a Pasco club had to scale back on tournaments and other functions when the secretary embezzled $7,000 over two years, a club officer said.

Galicia Erica Virgen reportedly was given many opportunities by the club's executive board to resolve the issue of the missing money but on ly had a long series of excuses, followed by complete silence.

The board didn't want to involve authorities and go to court. However, when it became clear to them that Virgen didn't intend to return the money, it had no choice but to seek legal action, the officer said in a letter to the court.

Last week -- more than a year after the theft ended -- Columbia Basin Wrestling Club was repaid $6,989.

Virgen, 40, appeared in Franklin County Superior Court with the full restitution amount as she was sentenced to 20 days in county jail.

Judge Vic VanderSchoor told Virgen that, if eligible, she can do the time on jail work release or the Washington state Department of Corrections work crew.

She pleaded guilty in September to first-degree theft and faced up to three months in jail. Court documents said she had no known criminal history that could affect her sentence.

Virgen, of Pasco, had been the secretary for the club when she made unauthorized ATM withdrawals and wrote checks without permission between July 2010 and July 2012. She admitted at the time of her guilty plea that she used the money for her own purposes.

The club used to be known as PAWS, which has been written in court documents as Parents Awesome Wrestling Society and Pasco Awesome Wrestlers Society.

The officer's letter, submitted to the judge for consideration at Virgen's sentencing, said Virgen tried to cover up the lack of money in the club account by removing personal injury protection on the club van. That meant the club only had liability coverage, which placed coaches, wrestlers and their parents at great risk during a number of road trips to western Washington, Idaho and Montana.

The club's treasurer contacted Franklin County sheriff's Detective Lee Barrow about the missing money after giving Virgen time to pay it back without any results.

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