O.C. man waives hearing in Baseball Association theft case

An Oil City man accused of stealing more than $10,000, while serving as treasurer of the Oil City Junior Baseball Association, waived his preliminary hearing Wednesday in Central Court.

Michael Darren Griffin, 46, of 907 Grandview Road, is charged in connection with the theft of the baseball league’s funds between April and December 2015.

Griffin is charged with felony counts of theft by unlawful taking of movable property and access device unauthorized by issuer and a misdemeanor count of misapplication of entrusted property.

In a criminal complaint, Oil City police said Griffin was obligated to deposit $19,696.54 that belonged to the Junior Baseball Association in his role as treasurer.

Griffin “washed” handwritten checks totaling $10,414.16. He wrote, cashed and transferred the funds derived from the checks between three separate accounts, police said.

Griffin used a debit card issued directly to him, granting him access to funds in a “Business” account to illegally obtain $8,288.62. He was the only person with access to that card and the associated pin number, and the card was never reported by Griffin to be lost, stolen or wrongfully used, police said.

On Dec. 24, 2015, Griffin arrived at the home of a witness associated with the case and spoke with him at length. Griffin told the witness, “I’m the one,” according to the complaint.

He then resigned as treasurer and turned over the debit card to the witness, the complaint said.

Police interviewed Griffin on Jan. 10 and reviewed the numbers and previous analysis of the amounts of money that was taken, and Griffin admitted to police that the numbers appeared to be correct.

The investigating officer received an email a few days later, from Griffin, in which he admitted to additional theft and provided more analysis and accuracy that brought the final theft total to $10,414.16, the complaint said.

The case is being prosecuted by assistant district attorney Brenda Servidio, and Griffin is represented by attorney Wayne Hundertmark.

With the waiver, Griffin’s case will move forward through the court system.