Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
November 30, 2009
Susan Kang Schroeder
FORMER CHIEF PROFESSIONAL OFFICER OF
30 YEARS AT BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF TUSTIN SENTENCED FOR STEALING MORE
THAN $114,000 FROM CLUB
SANTA ANA – The former Chief Professional Officer for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tustin (BGCT) was sentenced today for stealing more than $114,000 from BGCT by using club funds to pay for personal vacations and pay his wife a salary for a fictitious job that she did not hold. Clifford Lewis Polston, 60, Tustin, pleaded guilty Nov. 12, 2009, to one felony count of grand theft. He was sentenced to three years of formal probation, 200 hours of community service at the Southwest Community Center in Santa Ana, and ordered to pay over $140,000 in restitution to cover the theft and interest. Polston has paid the restitution in full to BGCT by transferring a Club-purchased life insurance policy in his name back to the Club.
Polston worked as the Chief Professional Officer for BGCT between 1977 and 2007. The BGCT organization is a non-profit center aimed at providing social and educational programs at safe facilities for underprivileged and at-risk youth.
Between 2001 and 2007, Polston stole approximately $114,000 from BGCT. He used approximately $33,000 in BCGT funds to pay off his personal credit cards for expenses not related to BGCT, including vacation rentals in Hawaii, plane tickets to Vancouver and Las Vegas, and parking at Los Angeles International Airport while on a trip to Tahiti.
During this same time period, Polston created a fictitious “educational consultant” job for his wife, Elsie Polston, who did not work at BGCT at that time. He stole over $72,800 from BGCT by writing checks to his wife under the false pretense that the payments were for work performed.
In the spring of 2007, the Board of Directors of BGCT noticed suspicious financial transactions related to Polston during a routine audit. The defendant resigned in October 2007 after being confronted by the BGCT Board of Directors regarding the suspected theft.
Shortly before resigning, Polston altered BGCT’s written policy without authorization from the Board of Directors regarding financial reimbursement for unused sick time. Polston changed the policy just prior to resigning to state that unused sick time would be paid to the employee upon termination. The policy had previously stated that unused sick time would not be paid to the employee upon termination. Polston then filed a civil lawsuit against BGCT for breach of contract, in part for not compensating him $76,700 for accrued sick time.
Deputy District Attorney Jan Christie of the White Collar Crime Team prosecuted this case.