Austin man charged with stealing over $450K from golf club
Published 7:49 am Wednesday, February 5, 2020
Discrepancies found in credit card and petty cash records
The Olmsted County District Court has brought formal charges against an Austin man who used to be the controller at Somerby Golf Club in Byron.
Gordon Craig Perkins, 63, has been charged with seven counts of felony theft by swindle, seven counts of felony theft – divert corporate property – and one count of felony issuance of dishonored checks.
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According to the court complaint, an Olmsted County deputy met with the manager of the Somerby Golf Club and the vice president of Somerby’s ownership group on Oct. 23. They reported that Perkins had been the club’s controller from December 2011 until his employment was terminated on Aug. 26, 2019. As controller, Perkins handled all of the money, expenses and bills.
The manager said they had discovered a significant number of unauthorized charges on three company credit cards issued through Sam’s Club and that all three cards had been issued to the Somerby account. One of the cards was in his name, while the other two were in the names “Craig Perkins” and “Craig Perkin.” A review of the credit card bills showed that many charges had nothing to do with Somerby, including grocery purchases, medical bills, repair work, nail salon visits ($300 per visit), hotels, air travel and mobile phone services for Perkins’ family plan, to name a few.
Perkins was responsible for paying the credit card bills and after a closer examination, it appeared Perkins made multiple payments, usually two to three payments per month, for each credit card so as not to draw suspicion. Perkins initiated all of the payments.
The manager and vice president reported that they confronted Perkins about the statements on Aug. 26. They said Perkins admitted to stealing and apologized. When told the amount of money used was between $300,000 and $400,000, Perkins did not dispute the figures and said he would reimburse them. He wrote a check for $75,000 and told them to wait a few days before depositing so he could move funds around. They waited a month to cash the check, which was returned for insufficient funds.
The vice president received an email from Perkins on Aug. 27. In it, Perkins expressed his “deepest apologies” and said he took “full responsibility” and would “make full restitution of said improper charges.”
The deputy obtained additional information, documents and receipts, including spreadsheet of unauthorized charges on Nov. 8.
Another Olmsted County deputy assigned to follow-up on the case met with the manager on Dec. 13. The manager reported that a review of the credit card statements showed the unauthorized purchases began in 2012 with small purchases, which increased by the middle of 2013.
The deputy obtained a search warrant for documents from a number of vendors and businesses that had been paid using Somerby credit cards. Many of the expenses could be traced to Perkins for services provided, including:
- Lawn care service for Perkins’ home and rental properties;
- Utility bills for various properties in which Perkins was the account holder;
- Roof replacement for Perkins’ home;
- A storage unit leased by Perkins; and
- HVAC and plumbing work done on Perkins’ home or rental properties.
The deputy confirmed that none of the expenses were related to Somerby; however, billing records from the Sam’s Club credit card and statements from Somerby’s bank showed the payments had been drawn from Somerby’s bank account.
The manager and an accountant created a ledger itemizing credit card bill payments and subtracting expenses that appeared to be legitimate. The total amount of unauthorized charges was calculated as follows:
- 2012 – $1,307.66
- 2013 – $2,415.32
- 2014 – $5,426.34
- 2015 – $9,959.81
- 2016 – $57,406.90
- 2017 – $88,830.85
- 2018 – $108,565.63
- 2019 – $73,698.21
The manager also reported that false claims were made for reimbursements from the petty cash fund. Somerby used to advance cash to members upon request and charge the cash advance to the member’s account, a practice that ended in 2017. The petty cash amount was also used to reimburse employees for approved expenses, which were reimbursed with a receipt. The manager said that a few hundred dollars a month was typically all that was necessary for the petty cash amount. Perkins kept the petty cash box and was responsible for giving cash to members and employees as well as entering the petty cash expenses in the ledger.
A member’s sales report was later generated which showed the actual cash advance amount that was given to the member and was charged on their account. The accountant compared the member sales ledger with the payments made to the petty cash account and discovered that the petty cash amount was reimbursed for much more cash than was reflected on the member sales ledger. The manager also noted that many of the claims for reimbursement did not have a receipt.
A comparison between the member sales ledger and the lack of receipts showed the following amounts had been fraudulently reimbursed to the petty cash account:
- 2012 – $6,746.88
- 2013 – $6,648.09
- 2014 – $10,243.83
- 2015 – $12,287.87
- 2016 – $48,893.94
- 2017 – $31,023.71
- 2018 – $5,050.91
Perkins will have his first court appearance on March 5.