Golf course employee ordered to repay $4,000

A former employee has been ordered to repay more than $4,000 to an Edinburgh golf course after an investigation found money missing when sales were not being counted at the register.

Ethan Duke, 28, of Columbus, pleaded guilty to theft from the municipal Timbergate Golf Course in January, but a state audit that concluded this week also is requesting Duke pay $800 more to cover the cost of the state’s audit and investigation.

Duke was sentenced to 511 days of home detention in March in a Shelby County court. He also was ordered to repay the golf course.

The theft was discovered when another golf course employee noticed a discrepancy when looking at the cash activity from registers of the snack bar and pro shop at the Timbergate Golf Course on May 31, 2015. The employee notified the golf course manager, Wayne Gibbs, of the theft, the report said.

Gibbs reviewed the financial activity from that day and found that no cash transactions had been entered into the register after 2 p.m. Surveillance video also confirmed that Duke had not rung up all the sales in the cash register, the report said.

Gibbs confronted Duke about the theft. Duke signed a confession stating he stole about $4,000 from the golf course between April 18, 2015, and May 30, 2015. Duke was arrested by the Edinburgh Police Department, the report said. Gibbs was not available Thursday.

Duke has not made any payments to the town of Edinburgh, but $317 from the bond he posted last year was given to the town, according to the audit. Duke’s public defender was not available Thursday.

The golf course is owned by the town, and Edinburgh has used taxpayer dollars to assist with running the golf course, including paying off debt related to the course’s construction.

The state audit examined the golf course’s financial records from the period that funds were taken. These audits are common when tax dollars are believed to be stolen. The audit found that Duke was responsible for stealing the funds, and that he should be responsible for paying for the audit as well, according to the report.

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Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jtellers@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2702.