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Plea hearing set for golf pro charged with taking $90,000 from Willmar course

Phillip Andrew Sam

WILLMAR — A plea hearing has been scheduled Jan. 5 for the former assistant golf pro at Willmar's Eagle Creek Golf Course.

Phillip Andrew Sam, 32, of Coon Rapids, is accused of swindling nearly $90,000 from the business in 2015.

Sam is charged with felony theft by swindle, and a hearing in the case was held Monday in Kandiyohi County District Court. The hearing follows his conviction on a gross misdemeanor charge of theft by swindle in Mille Lacs County.

Sam was sentenced Sept. 28 to serve 30 days in jail with work release privileges and two years of probation for the Mille Lacs charge.

According to the complaint in Mille Lacs County, Sam and his girlfriend planned and held benefits in 2014 for his stepbrother, Nicholas Nelsen Sam, 25, for medical expenses. After expenses, $9,615.37 in donations raised by the events were not received by Nicholas Sam.

Kandiyohi County charged Sam with felony theft by swindle after a member of the Eagle Creek Golf Club board of directors reported that members suspected the golf pro had taken between $10,000 and $20,000 in cash and merchandise in 2015. An subsequent audit identified losses of $89,314.37 to Eagle Creek Golf Club during a seven-month period.

Sam allegedly told investigators that he used the money for gambling and that he quit his job so no one would find out what he had done.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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