A San Francisco nonprofit that organizes gymnastics and circus arts for youth is suing a South San Francisco couple for allegedly stealing more than $200,000 to renovate their home during the time the wife worked as its bookkeeper.
In the civil suit filed Thursday in San Mateo County Superior Court, AcroSports Gymnastics and Sports Activity Center seeks to recoup the funds from Valerie and Jeffrey Charles Kerr. AcroSports claims the reported theft not only caused it to lose the money taken but also lost participant fees because it couldn’t finance programs.
AcroSports is seeking punitive damages of $500,000 plus more than $150,000 for the market value of the goods Valerie Kerr allegedly purchased on the nonprofit’s dime.
Valerie Kerr worked at AcroSports until Jan. 18, 2011 when her alleged embezzlement was uncovered.
In her position, she was charged with managing checks and bank accounts and providing financial reports to the organizations officer and directors, according to the suit.
During that time, she allegedly transferred the group’s money into her own accounts and used its debit card to purchase items for personal use by her and her then-husband with the majority used to improve and remodel their South San Francisco home. The Kerrs have since divorced.
She allegedly hid the transfers and buys by giving AcroSports’ officers and board false financial information and reports.
The nonprofit stated in the suit it is uncertain of exactly how much Kerr reportedly took but believes the amount to exceed $200,000. Along with the damages, the suit also demands the Kerrs provide accounting for the money, property and any profits resulting from them.
The suit also claims Jeffrey Kerr was aware of his wife’s actions and “encouraged” her to continue taking money and using the debit card to purchase home goods.
Neither AcroSports nor its attorney returned inquires for comment.
A case management conference is scheduled for April 16.
The gym’s claims against the Kerrs is not their first brush with the law. In October, 2002 both were arrested by Palo Alto police on suspicion of misusing confidential law enforcement information and falsely reporting an emergency. Kerr was a dispatcher and had been employed by the city for two years at the time, according to published reports that said she was accused of using her position to look up confidential information on a person related to her husband and also caused a false report of an emergency to be filed related to the same person.
The outcome of that case was not immediately available.
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