Former country club manager accused of stealing $500K

January 8, 2014
Brian Lee Simon

The former manager of Nemacolin Country Club in Centerville was arrested Wednesday by state police for allegedly embezzling more than a half-million dollars from the club over a six-year period.

Brian Lee Simon, 35, of Washington, was arraigned Wednesday before District Judge Joshua Kanalis on 168 counts of forgery, 11 counts of identity theft and one count each of theft, theft by deception, receiving stolen property and dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity. He is accused of stealing $529,647 from the country club, located at 3100 National Pike West (Route 40), between January 2007 and March while he worked as the manager. Police said that as manager, Simon had control over the kitchen and dining areas, lounge, meeting rooms, administration and golf course.

Washington County District Attorney Eugene Vittone said the country club board noticed losses and discovered checks that were issued that were not supported by bona fide documents.

Andrew Richards, a retired U.S. Postal Service inspector, was hired as a private investigator to look into the financial loss at the country club. Richards is a certified fraud specialist, police said.

Richards determined that the money was embezzled by Simon through the use of company checks. Vittone said Simon would deposit the checks into his own bank account.

Police indicated in court documents that Simon conducted his scheme in four separate ways. Simon would have checks issued to him for fictitious expenses. He would then cash and deposit those checks. He also would create checks for a person with no affiliation to the country club. Simon would then deposit those checks. Simon also allegedly presented fraudulent invoices for items not received by the club. He also created checks for actual vendors that he would forge and deposit into his PNC account.

Police said Simon received $254,997 in checks made out to him as reimbursement for expenses that he did not incur. He also presented fraudulent invoices using the identity of a fictitious person and negotiated 85 checks totaling $168,919. He received another $31,830 by creating checks for a person who was not connected to the club. He deposited another $63,925 in forged checks made out to vendors.

Police reviewed a recorded interview between Richards and Simon, in which the former manager reportedly admitted his role in the thefts.

Simon was placed in Washington County jail on $529,647 bond, the amount of the theft. A preliminary hearing is set for Jan. 24 before Kanalis.

A message left at the country club for one of the officers was not returned Wednesday.

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.

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