Crime & Justice

Former Boys & Girls Club employee sentenced for stealing over $114,000 from club

The former chief of The Boys And Girls Club of Tustin was sentenced today for stealing over $114,000 from the organization by misappropriating club funds.

Clifford Polston, 60, was sentenced to three years of probation, 200 hours of community service, and ordered to pay over $140,000 in restitution for the theft plus interest. Polston has paid the restitution in full by transferring his club-purchased life insurance policy back to the club.

According to the Orange County District Attorney's Office, Polston had used club funds to pay for personal vacations and to pay his wife a salary for a fictitious job.

Polston pled guilty Nov. 12 to one felony count of grand theft.

Polston worked as chief professional officer for the club between 1977 and 2007. Between 2001 and 2007, Polston allegedly stole approximately $114,000 from the organization. He used about $33,000 to pay off his personal credit cards, including vacation rentals in Hawaii, plane tickets to Vancouver and Las Vegas, and parking at Los Angeles International Airport while on a trip to Tahiti.

During this same time period, Polston created a fictitious "educational consultant" job for his wife Elsie, paying her $72,800 under the false pretense that the payments were for work performed.

In the spring of 2007, the club's Board of Directors noticed suspicious financial transactions related to Polston during a routine audit. Polston resigned in October 2007 after being confronted by the board about the suspected theft.

Shortly before resigning, Polston altered the club's written policy on sick time to state that unused sick time would be paid to the employee upon termination. Polston filed a civil lawsuit against the club for breach of contract, in part for not compensating him for $76,700 for accrued sick time.