Imagine this: it’s a nice breezy, warm day and you’ve lugged your golf bag over your shoulder, ready to get out on the course. As you walk up to your first tee, you have all intentions of shooting under par – though that achievement is not always the easiest to come by. You take a swing and shank the ball to the right. Perhaps you’ve committed a common faux pas of not flattening your swing. Try reminding yourself that golf takes practice, and even the big shots have a horrible small game from time to time. According to a PostStarNews article, an employee of a New York golf course may be reminding himself to watch his “faux-pars” around his fraud game.
Seasonal employment is common at many golf courses – particularly those located in colder regions of the country. Even more commonly, those areas with high levels of seasonal employment often bring along the temptation to commit unemployment fraud. (What’s harder – getting away with unemployment fraud, or beating Tiger’s 14-under par performance at Torrey Pines?) One New York fraudster pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, sentenced to spend weekends in the local jail for four months and five years of probation. He also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $15,392. So, how did our golfing buddy wind up in such a mess?
The fraudster filed for unemployment in 2010 and 2011, neglecting to tell the government that he worked a seasonal job at a local golf course. (He shouldn’t be worried about perfecting a short game – as a fraudster, his “lying game” is horrible.) Wait…it gets better. Court documents show that in 2011, the fraudster “collected unemployment, which was being charged against the Town of Fallsburg, while simultaneously collecting a paycheck as a town employee.” The Department of Labor discovered the fraud when he applied for unemployment again in 2012, launching an investigation to cut his scheme short. (Just like perfecting the game of golf takes a long time, so does perfecting the game of fraud. However, if you play badly in golf, you’ll just go home in a bad mood – but if you play badly in fraud, you’ll wind up in prison.) A district attorney explained: “Perhaps [he] thought that he would just continue to get away with his fraud because he had been successful for so long, but the Department of Labor’s investigative staff caught up with him.” (It doesn’t pay to be a cheater, buddy.)
As PGA golfer Rory McIlroy once said: “It’s incredible, ridiculous really, isn’t it? You realize you can make more money on the golf tour in one week than some people make in a lifetime.” Well, fraudster, maybe you should’ve practiced your swing instead of committing fraud.