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Former treasurer allegedly stole $47,000 from Bothell softball league

The King County Prosecutor's Office has charged a former treasurer of a Bothell girls softball league with theft in the first degree.

According to probable cause papers filed by Kirkland Police, Brian Roger Hirai, 57, of Kirkland, is allegedly responsible for $47,602 in unauthorized purchases with funds drawn on accounts belonging to the Northshore Girls Slowpitch Softball Association in Bothell.

Association president Miles Roscher said after the supposed problems with the association's accounts first were discovered, the league was in danger of folding for a lack of funds. However, he added Hirai has made some $36,000 in payments to the association.

"We're not bankrupt," Roscher said. "We can proceed with the next season."

Still, Roscher said the league has about $300 in cash reserves, adding they will have to count on fees from players to pay the association's bills next year.

Regarding Hirai's alleged activities, Kirkland police say current league treasurer Elizabeth Alexander provided them with a list of unauthorized expenditures her predecessor allegedly made on league accounts between Feb. 17, 2009 and July 21, 2010.

According to police reports, Alexander and Roscher said Hirai took over as league treasurer in the fall of 2008. League officials claim the organization normally carries a checking balance of around $75,000 before yearly expenses, with another $25,000 kept in savings, again, according to police records. Northshore officials further claimed the association president and the treasurer are the only individuals with access to checks on the accounts.

Roscher told police he became aware of a possible problem with the accounts only after being contacted about overdue payments such as for field fees owed to the city of Bothell, uniform vendors and umpires.

Once more according to police, Alexander said he began going through league books and allegedly discovered over 100 transactions made by Hirai for such items as wine, cell phone payments, dining, rental cars and apartment rent.

Allegedly, once Hirai had depleted the league's main funds, he began making transfers from the league savings into its checking account.

Police say Alexander claims the effect of Hirai's actions was to empty the savings account. At one point association officials told police the league owed some $30,000 for last summer's expenses.

Reports say that after being contacted by police by phone, Hirai initially claimed to have repaid $10,000 of the supposedly missing money. Officials say he offered to eventually pay more, stating, according to police, that he has most of his money tied up in a personal investment that had yet to come to fruition.

Police say Hirai came to the Kirkland Police station on Aug. 19 of his own volition. After an interview with a detective in which police say Hirai once more vowed to repay any missing dollars, he was arrested for first degree theft and forgery. For whatever reason, the forgery charge later was dropped.

A spokesman for the King County Prosecutor's Office, Dan Donohoe said a formal charge of first degree theft was filed Oct. 6. Hirai is not in custody, but is scheduled for arraignment in King County Superior Court on Oct. 18.

Roscher said he naturally is relieved the association is not headed toward bankruptcy. But he said he still was shocked by the alleged actions of someone who had been with the association in various capacities for 18 years.

The Northshore Web site says the association has served area girls for 39 years, with an average of 600 players each season.

Shortly after charges were filed against Hirai, the association began accepting donations to help meet its expenses. Roscher said they still are more than welcome at "Give $5 for Kids," PO Box 235 Bothell, WA 98041. Donations also are being accepted at all Key Bank locations. Checks can be made to "Give $5 for Kids."

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