A part-time seasonal worker at the Elma Meadows golf course has been charged with grand larceny after admitting to skimming hundreds of dollars from the green fees he collected while operating as a cashier, according to the Erie County Sheriff’s Office.
Scott M. Catlin, 44, of Elma, had been a seasonal worker with the Erie County Department of Parks, Recreation & Forestry for seven years until his arrest by sheriff’s detectives over the weekend.
The arrest capped a month-long investigation by the sheriff’s department that came after a tip to county parks officials from a customer at Elma Meadows who said Catlin had issued him a handwritten receipt instead of a computer-generated one, as is the proper protocol.
“We were tipped off that he may have been issuing handwritten receipts ... instead of actually using the cash register and the regular receipt process at the golf course,” Parks Commissioner Troy P. Schinzel said Wednesday.
“Immediately upon receiving that tip, I started working with the Erie County sheriff’s to prove or disprove that,” Schinzel added.
The investigation was conducted by Sheriff’s Detective Christian Parisi.
Administration officials said the protocol at Elma Meadows is for customers to receive a printed receipt from the cashier after paying their greens fees.
The computer-generated receipt serves as golfers’ proof-of-purchase when they approach the starter shack to begin playing.
In his statement to detectives, Catlin admitted to stealing about $1,000.
At this point, administration officials said, it is not yet known how long Catlin may have been siphoning money at the golf course. Sheriff’s officials said Catlin could face a higher felony charge if the extent of his thefts wind up exceeding $3,000.
“What Troy is doing with his staff is going back and pulling lots more records to look and see if there’s anything out there that seems amiss,” said Deputy Budget Director Timothy Callan.
“When Troy got the tip, he had Kim Decker, who is the superintendent of the golf courses, start looking at more records,” Callan added.
Elma Meadows is one of two golf courses operated by the county Parks Department. Grover Cleveland golf course in Amherst is the other.
Schinzel said he is working with the staff at the golf courses to tighten up procedures both for the staff and customers. He also may seek to purchase surveillance cameras.
The golf courses charge fees for the use of the greens and the rental of golf carts and range balls.