Crime & Courts

Former McHenry Baseball Association treasurer gets prison for theft

Kelly Ference
Kelly Ference

A former McHenry Baseball Association treasurer accepted a plea deal Friday and received a prison sentence for embezzling more than $60,000 from the nonprofit.

Kelly M. Ference pleaded guilty Thursday to a felony theft charge that stemmed from a McHenry police investigation last year. McHenry County Judge James Cowlin accepted the plea and sentenced Ference to three years in prison. She is expected to make weekly court appearances until her prison sentence begins early next month, assistant public defender, Kim Messer said.

On Aug. 23, 2017, the McHenry Baseball Association went to McHenry police with concerns about a large amount of money that wasn’t paid to the league’s vendors in 2016 and 2017, police said at the time.

Officers arrested Ference in December after an investigation that revealed the 33-year-old had cashed 77 checks between July 18, 2016, and July 27, 2017. Ference, who for two years served as the organization’s elected treasurer – a volunteer position – stole a total of $66,657, court records show.

She must pay back the amount in restitution.

Ference had previous convictions of theft, misuse of a credit card and forgery dating back to 2007 out of Cook County, prosecutors said. The association’s president, Joe Meyer, previously said he wasn’t aware of Ference’s criminal history.

The McHenry Baseball Association is a nonprofit group comprised of volunteers, according to the league’s website. The group serves about 500 players aged between 5 and 16 years old.

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