By Jay Cook |FREEHOLD – The former treasurer of the Freehold Soccer League pleaded guilty earlier this week to stealing over $400,000 from the youth recreational and travel league where he volunteered, said Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.Anthony Gallo, 57, of Freehold Township, pleaded guilty Monday to second degree theft before Superior Court Judge Vincent N. Falcetano Jr. Gallo, the CEO of a financial services firm, faces a maximum term of six years in state prison. He must pay $280,000 in restitution when he returns for sentencing before Judge Falcetano on January 19, 2018, per terms of the plea agreement, Gramiccioni said.An investigation into Gallo’s activity began in March 2016 when Freehold Soccer League president Bryan Patmore alerted authorities about missing funds and unpaid uniform bills connected to the league’s account, according to Gramiccioni. The prosecutor’s office’s Financial Crimes Unit alleged Gallo swiped over $400,000 from those league accounts.Law enforcement authorities maintain Gallo wrote checks to himself, his company, Beacon Financial Services, and “cash” totaling over $300,000, Gramiccioni announced in March. Gallo also allegedly made numerous ATM withdrawals amounting to over $120,000 from the league’s account. He used league funds to pay personal expenses totaling over $25,000, including $12,000 for his Verizon Wireless bills, thousands of dollars at Honda of Freehold, other household bills, and for restaurants and shopping, the prosecutor said.Before being charged, Gallo paid back more than $119,000 into league accounts in an effort to prevent his crime from being detected, Gramiccioni said.A Monmouth County grand jury returned a 14-count indictment charging Gallo of the theft in September, the prosecutor’s office announced at the time.Patmore, the league president, did not return a request for comment by press time on Wednesday. But in April 2016, he penned a post on the Freehold Soccer League’s public Facebook page talking about the “difficult and upsetting situation in which we find ourselves.”“On behalf of the FSL board, I would like to express our deep regret over this serious matter,” Patmore wrote. “We take our responsibility of managing this great club extremely seriously. Our job is to ensure the members of this organization Honor the Children, Honor the Game, Honor the Town and finally Honor the League.”Patmore also said the Freehold Soccer League would create an advisory board of current and former league members to oversee the league’s financial system. A third-party audit company and a certified public accountant would also be retained to review the books every year, he said.“We are soliciting the members of our community to help in any way they can,” Patmore wrote. “Volunteer an hour, volunteer a day, let’s pull together to make this club the best in the state of New Jersey.”This article was first published in the Nov. 16-23, 2017 print edition of the Two River Times.