Police: Bristol man accused of embezzlement has prior charges

(Bristol Police Department photo)

BRISTOL, R.I. (WPRI) — Just days after a Bristol man was arrested for allegedly embezzling from the Rhode Island Fast Pitch Softball Coaches’ Association, Eyewitness News spoke with the president of the association – who said he hopes the missing money will be returned.

Adam Laliberte wasn’t willing to speak on camera, but he did tell Eyewitness News that the association was planning its annual awards banquet back in April when they realized the money they were counting on was gone.

After a four month long investigation, State Police say they arrested 55-year-old Steven Zina at his home in Bristol on Friday.

Zina was the former treasurer of the association. Now, he is facing charges of embezzlement, compounding a felony, and obtaining money under false pretenses, according to police.

Laliberte said no one knew the money had disappeared until planning began for the banquet began in April. According to a report by the State Police, Zina took $12,347 from the organization.

Zina was arrested for a similar crime in 2014, after police said he took nearly $20,000 from the booster club he ran at Mount Hope High School.

According to the Bristol Police Department, there were several unusual debits from the booster’s account to places like Sprint and the Rhode Island DMV.

State Police also said Zina was arrested in January of this year on similar charges with another non-profit organization.

Laliberte said he is hopeful the association can get the money back – noting that the program is not impacted by the loss of the money.

State Police said someone who is convicted of embezzlement, false pretenses, and misappropriation could land in jail for up to 20 years.

Zina is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

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