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Man who stole from Eagle Creek Golf Club sentenced to jail, probation

WILLMAR — A Coon Rapids man has been sentenced to 90 days in jail and 20 years of probation for stealing $89,000 from the Eagle Creek Golf Club where he worked as an assistant pro.

Phillip Andrew Sam, 32, pleaded guilty in January to a felony charge of theft by swindle.

Sam was sentenced to 90 days in the Kandiyohi County Jail with credit for 14 days already served. He was also granted a stay of imposition of sentence. That means he pleaded guilty to a felony, but if he completes probation successfully, the conviction will be reduced to a misdemeanor.

He will serve 20 years of supervised probation and was ordered to complete 150 hours of community work service. The numerous conditions include no gambling, alcohol or drugs and no possession of firearms or ammunition. He was ordered to pay $140 in fines and court fees and $450 a month in restitution beginning in September.

A hearing on restitution is scheduled for Aug. 10.

According to court records, the money was taken from March to September 2015. Sam had been authorized to make purchases for the club during that time.

After a board member reported financial irregularities to the Willmar Police Department, an investigation uncovered missing deposits, receipts that didn't match deposits and checks that had been received but not deposited. Records indicated that about $6,000 in merchandise had been shipped directly to Sam's home.

Under questioning, Sam had admitted to taking cash from deposits, using the club's credit card machine to take money and had falsified other transactions, according to court records.

He told police that he had used the money to feed a gambling habit.

Sam also was charged in a theft-by-swindle case in Mille Lacs County, where he was convicted in August of a gross misdemeanor. He was accused of stealing the proceeds of a 2014 fundraiser on behalf of his 25-year-old stepbrother. The money, about $14,000, was to help pay the man's medical bills but was never turned over to him.

Sam served jail time for the theft and is currently on two years of supervised probation in Mille Lacs County.

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

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