Former Accountant At Somerby Golf Club In Southeast MN Charged With Stealing $450,000 From Business
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A former accountant, who was in charge of handling the money, expenses and bills for Somerby Golf Club in Byron, has now been charged with stealing about $450,000 from the golf club.
Gordon Craig Perkins faces seven counts of theft by swindle, seven counts of diversion of corporate property, and one count of issuing dishonored checks.
Perkins worked for the club from December 2011 to August 2019. The Olmsted County Sheriff's Office began investigating his work last fall.
In August 2019, golf club executives discovered numerous unauthorized charges on three company credit cards. The charges appear to have started in 2012, beginning as smaller purchases at Sam's Club, before increasing into full shopping trips that were not business related, according to a criminal complaint.
"Some examples of charges were for groceries and other purchases at Sam's Club, HVAC services, appliances, auto repair work, dental bills, lawn care services, utilities, medical bills at the Mayo Clinic, accounting and legal fees, local nail salons ($300 per visit), restaurants, time shares, air travel, hotels, car rentals, and monthly mobile phone services," the complaint says.
The credit card charges ranged from $1,307.66 in 2012 to $108,565.63 in 2018.
Perkins is also accused of making false claims for reimbursement from the golf club's cash account. Somerby's had a practice of advancing cash to its members, and then later charging that amount to the member's account. This practice ended in 2017, when the club got an ATM.
According to investigators, Perkins was the only person responsible for keeping a record of the charges, and the numbers show inconsistencies.
Investigators believe amounts ranging from $5,050.91 in 2018 to $48,893.94 in 2016 were fraudulently taken in this manner.
According to the complaint, when the general manager and vice-president of the golf club confronted Perkins, he admitted that he had been stealing and apologized for his actions. Court documents say that he said he did not know why he did it, and that he just made a bad decision.
The complaint says that Perkins did not dispute the dollar amounts of his theft. He allegedly said he would reimburse the golf club for the charges. Then, before leaving, he wrote a check for $75,000 and gave it to the general manager and vice president – asking them to wait a few days before depositing it so that he could move some funds over to the account.
The managers waited about a month to cash the check, but it was returned for non-sufficient funds, according to the complaint.
One day after the confrontation, the complaint says the vice president received an email from Perkins expressing his deepest apologies. Perkins wrote that he would sell his personal items and assets, file for unemployment and look for a job. He allegedly wrote that he planned to pay as much as possible up front, and then either monthly or bi-weekly payments, saying, "My sole objective is to repay Somerby GC for all the improper charges that occurred as quickly as possible."
Each felony charge of diversion of corporate property and theft by swindle comes with a maximum sentence of 20 years and/or a $100,000 fine. Perkin's first court appearance is scheduled for March 5.
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