Warrant: Ex-Wilton booster president used stolen funds for plane tickets, Trump MAGA hat
WILTON — Plane tickets, parking tickets and a “Make America Great Again” hat were just a few of the items that the former president of the Wilton Football Boosters is accused of using embezzled funds to purchase, according to court documents.
Brian Colburn, 50, was arrested on Aug. 9 and accused of stealing about $40,000 from club accounts during his three-year tenure as president. Colburn also ran several cash-only operations, like selling “Spirit Wear” or 50/50 raffle tickets at football games and coordinating an annual Super Bowl pool, from which he is believed to have pocketed untold thousands more, according to his arrest warrant.
Suspicions about Colburn and his handling of booster club funds surfaced earlier this year, according to the warrant, when Wilton High School football coach Edward DiNunzio started getting calls from angry vendors who claimed they hadn’t been paid by the club in months.
Around this time, coaching staff and other board members began asking questions that Colburn couldn’t answer, the warrant said. But Colburn, who then had sole power over the club’s finances, made efforts to stymie these inquiries, the warrant said.
The warrant said Colburn provided excuses for why invoices remained unpaid and why he couldn’t produce bank statements when asked. At one point, the warrant said, he even produced forged bank statements to allay suspicion.
Behind the scenes, the warrant said, Colburn was trying to cover the crime. The warrant claims Colburn used some of the stolen funds to purchase Adobe Suites, which police suspect he used to produce fake bank transcripts. In May, Colburn also collected money related to the club’s annual golf fundraiser, its biggest event of the year, despite being told not to by other board members, the warrant said.
“Several board members believe that this was Colburn’s last attempt to bring in money to put in the account to make it appear that there was money in the account,” Wilton police Detective Pete Trahan wrote in the warrant.
The investigation revealed Colburn had been in “financial straits for several years” with unpaid mortgage payments in the months leading to his arrest and had outstanding debts dating back to April 2014.
Colburn is scheduled to be arraigned in Norwalk on Aug. 29. He faces charges of first-degree larceny and third-degree forgery.
In the wake of the allegations, people in the Wilton football community have called for more transparency in booster organizations.
“It was a one-man show and Brian [Colburn] was running it,” said Artie DiRocco, president of the Wilton Gridiron Football Club. “They [the Wilton Football Boosters Club] didn’t have board titles. It was Brian and everyone else.”
DiRocco said the Wilton Gridiron Football Club’s bylaws are designed to prevent one person from exerting too much control.
“There are lots of checks and balances in place. For instance, there is more than one name on each account,” he said. “We’re going to be a more organized, transparent organization.”