Golf courses are all too often a victim to inside jobs.  (Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor)

$300,000 stolen from Australian golf club just the latest example of theft from the inside

For golf courses these days, making ends meet can be tough enough when you've got a full tee sheet.

So when someone on the inside starts skimming off the top, it's a devastating blow.

Australia's Herald Sun reports Sharon Breyiannis was sent to prison for up to ten years after admitting that her gambling addiction led her to steal over $300,000 from Rossdale Golf Club in Victoria, where she worked as an accountant despite having no formal training. According to her lawyer, Breyiannis grew stressed from her job and blow the money on poker machines after work.

More from The Age:

Breyiannis quit her job in 2011, when the club's auditors discovered financial irregularities, was arrested at the start of 2014 and finally pleaded guilty to three representative charges of theft.

Judge Hicks said the mother of two adult sons began working at Rossdale in 2002 as a receptionist but was promoted to look after finances when other staff left, but often felt overwhelmed and stressed in her role. She gambled heavily to cope, the court heard.

The courts found 66 counts of theft between 2009-2011 in the case in total. As the club's books grew bare, conditions deteriorated and many members left the club. The club has been forced to sell off land in order to recoup the losses.

If this story sounds familiar, it's because managers or accountants here in the U.S. rip off their own golf clubs as well. WKRC, a CBS affiliate in Cincinnati, reported in 2016 of Kenton County Golf Course suing the long-time manager over $140,000 in stolen funds.

Also last year, a manager at Park Hills Country Club in Altoona, Pa. was accused of stealing $90,000 in a year, as reported by the Altoona Mirror.

And in 2015, the former G.M. of Blackberry Oaks Golf Course was accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars over a decade, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.

There's probably been a golf club near you that has been impacted by theft or vandalism in recent memory. It's a lot of acres, equipment and cash to keep an eye on. Golf course operations, as much as any local business, can be a harrowing endeavor.

Mar 03, 2017

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Brandon Tucker

Managing Editor

Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Advisor. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at BrandonTuckerGC.