Man charged with swindling Woodbury golf courseOfficers on Tuesday arrested a man at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport who is accused of ripping off Prestwick Golf Course by staging a golf tournament that vanished into thin air.
By: Mike Longaecker, Woodbury Bulletin
Officers on Tuesday, Aug. 14, arrested a man at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport who is accused of ripping off Prestwick Golf Course by staging a golf tournament that vanished into thin air.
Todd Allen Rocha, 54, was arrested by Washington County Sheriff’s deputies at the airport, where he was taken into custody on a warrant. He had been charged in July with felony theft by swindle.
According to a criminal complaint:
Woodbury police took a report May 21 from the Prestwick manager, who explained that she and the golf course owners had agreed to hold a celebrity charity golf tournament. The golf course had issued the event’s organizer a $2,500 check, but Prestwick officials had learned the man – later identified as Rocha – was not associated with the charity.
The manager said she had been contacted in January about a celebrity tournament at the Woodbury golf course by someone purporting to be the honorary chairman of a charity benefiting children. After agreeing, she was contacted by Rocha, with whom she conducted several meetings.
Prestwick officials agreed to sponsor the tournament and in February made out a $2,500 payable to the charity. A contract was drawn up and signed by Prestwick’s owner and Rocha, though police later discovered minor discrepancies in the contract language.
As time went on, the Prestwick manager had difficulty reaching Rocha about the tournament, which was to have occurred in June. Eventually she spoke with the president of the charity – which is not named in the complaint – and learned Rocha was not associated with the charity.
“(Rocha) had represented himself as an event organizer for the charity, was using the charity’s logo on unauthorized contracts and had also taken money from businesses under the guise of organizing musical concerts,” the complaint states.
The charity had never received the $2,500 payment, which Woodbury police traced to a bank in Medina, Minn. Bank officials said a woman had deposited the check Feb. 13 and wired $1,500 on Feb. 17 to a music production company in Murrieta, Calif.
Rocha, who is an authorized user on the account, had given the check to the woman, she told police, adding that she had attempted to create a local address for him. Rocha had no permanent address at the time charges were filed.
If convicted, Rocha faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. His first court appearance is set for Sept. 26.