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Minnesota District 2…robbed of $384,000

By Tony Scott, 12/21/12, 1:15AM CST

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It is not every day you wake up to this in your inbox,

“A former insurance agent has admitted embezzling more than $384,000 from Minnesota’s amateur hockey association (District 2) while serving as a district treasurer. Steven Brier, 55, entered a guilty plea in federal court in St. Paul on Monday, Dec. 17. He pleaded guilty to tax evasion for not reporting his ill-gotten gains as income. Brier, of Oakdale, could face 18 months in prison when sentenced later by U.S. District Judge Richard Kyle. No sentencing date has been set.”

Here is an update of what has happened:

-In the Fall of 2011, District 2 was notified by Bremer Bank in Oakdale that suspicious activity had been taking place. In the end, the suspicious activity was Steven Brier wiring funds to himself over a six year period of $384,000.

-In January of 2012, the case was moved from county court to federal court, presumably because of the tax evasion.

-To date, Mr. Brier has re-paid $81,000 and as part of his sentencing agreement will pay the remaining monies back as part of restitution.

-Recently, District 2 has received $50,000 as part of an insurance claim they made due to Mr. Brier’s actions, leaving a current shortfall of $250,000 left to be paid back to it’s nine member district.

District 2 is made up of associations from Forest Lake, Highland/Central, Mahtomedi, Mounds View, North St. Paul, Roseville, Stillwater, Tartan and White Bear Lake.

YHH spoke to Minnesota Hockey President Dave Margenau today and he said, “District 2 reported Mr. Brier to authorities and have cooperated with authorities throughout this investigation.”  He also noted that,” District 2 has taken steps to safeguard the district from future occurrences.” YHH also spoke with District 2 President, Jeff Merth about this ugly affair.  He first said, “we are working very closely with our member associations to assure them that we are doing everything we can to recuperate these lost funds.” Merth, when asked what the chances of getting the lost $250,000 back…he politely said, “I’m doing everything I can…”

Fact: There is $250,000 of money missing from the coffers from funds paid by the nine associations over the past number of years.

Fact:  Mr. Brier has only been indicted for tax evasion.  The federal embezzlement investigation is not complete.  Brier may face more jail time.

Safeguards are now in place, monies in all likelihood are gone and if they return it may not be until after the next Mayan calendar expires.  It is a sad tale. Hopefully other districts and member associations will take the Treasurer position more seriously in the future.

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