Police: Former Wilton school booster club president stole $20K
The former president of the Wilton Football Boosters Club was arrested following an investigation into missing funds from the club’s account, Wilton police reported.
Brian Colburn, 50, of Wilton, was arrested Friday, Aug. 9, in connection with an embezzlement scheme that netted in excess of $20,000, according to police.
Colburn was charged with larceny by embezzlement in the first degree for an amount greater than $20,000, and forgery in the third degree.
Police say Colburn surrendered himself to the Wilton Police Department on Aug. 9 at approximately 6 p.m. upon being informed of the warrant for his arrest. He subsequently posted a $50,000 bond and will be arraigned in Norwalk Superior Court on Monday, Aug. 19.
The arrest follows an investigation conducted by the Wilton Police Department in May stemming from a complaint by the Wilton High School Football program, as well as others affiliated with the Boosters, of suspicion regarding the organization’s finances.
“Vendors were not getting paid,” said Ryan Masterson, the treasurer of the newly formed Wilton Gridiron Football Club, which was started as a separate booster organization. “They were calling [Wilton High football head coach] EJ DiNunzio to complain. EJ realized that something was awry.”
Franey Donovan, who announces the Warriors football games, said he did not know Colburn beyond seeing him at the games where Colburn would socialize with other club members.
“He always appeared to enthusiastic and dedicated to Warrior football,” Donovan told the Bulletin. “I am stunned by the allegations should they prove to be true.”
Colburn became the Boosters president in 2016 and by the end of 2017 had essentially asserted sole control over Boosters finances, according to police.
Wilton Police Capt. Robert Cipolla said as Boosters president, Colburn was entrusted with money from financial donations made by members of the public and the community and he diverted funds from legitimate Boosters financial accounts and used it for his personal expenses.
According to police, PayPal records showed that Colburn transferred in excess of $20,000 from the Boosters legitimate PayPal account into his personal PayPal account.
Investigation further revealed that when Colburn had been confronted by the Boosters’ executive board in May about the organization's finances, he produced forged bank statements in an attempt to show that there was more money in the Boosters’ bank accounts than there actually was.
“It was a one-man show and Brian [Colburn] was running it,” said Artie DiRocco, the 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.”
Tim Murphy contributed to this story.