An Oakdale man is heading to prison for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars while he was treasurer for an amateur youth hockey organization, and then gambling at casinos in the hopes of repaying what he stole.
Steven R. Brier, 55, was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in St. Paul to eight months in prison for tax evasion, having admitted that he stole about $384,000 from District 2 of what is now Minnesota Hockey, the state’s primary organizing body for amateur play.
Brier will begin serving his sentence June 18, with the government recommending that he serve his time in minimum security at the Duluth federal prison camp. He also was ordered to make restitution to District 2 and the IRS.
He’s also barred during his two years of supervised release from wagering or even entering anywhere there is gambling. That includes not only casinos but where lottery tickets and pull tabs are sold.
District 2 fields youth teams from Stillwater, Mahtomedi, St. Paul’s Highland area, Mounds View, Oakdale, Roseville, White Bear Lake and Forest Lake.
Brier admitted that he wrote numerous checks to himself without detection as an unpaid treasurer for District 2 from April 2005 through September 2011 and with only one signature required on the checks.
To make the checks appear legitimate, he noted on the memo lines, among other things, “scheduling” and “playoff expenses.”
Over the years, Brier often gambled at casinos, attempting to win money so he could repay the association. While he paid back more than $81,000, he still owed $302,000 to District 2.
Brier evaded payment of federal personal income taxes from 2007 through 2010 and agreed that tax losses tied to the money he stole amounted to at least $68,000.
In addition to what Brier has so far paid back, the district has collected $50,000 from its insurer.