Ex-manager of pro shop accused of embezzling

Indictment says $200,000 taken from course at APG

December 25, 2003|By Gail Gibson | Gail Gibson,SUN STAFF

The former pro shop manager at Aberdeen Proving Ground's Ruggles Golf Course faces a federal theft charge, with authorities accusing him of embezzling about $200,000 from the government-owned 18-hole course.

Steward A. Hinch, 42, of Aberdeen was charged last week in a one-count indictment in U.S. District Court. No court appearances have been scheduled.

The indictment accuses Hinch of altering daily receipts and financial records at the pro shop to divert money that was supposed to pay for such things as membership dues, greens fees, cart rentals and golf merchandise.

In some instances, according to the indictment, Hinch took cash payments for items without recording the transactions. The indictment also alleges that he had checks made payable to him instead of the golf course.

Between October 1997 and April last year, the indictment alleges, Hinch embezzled more than $200,000 from the course - and, by extension, the U.S. Department of Defense, which owns and operates Aberdeen Proving Ground. According to the indictment, Hinch deposited about $150,000 from the alleged scheme into his bank account or his wife's.

The Ruggles course is one of several attractions at the Harford County military installation, which also features a bowling alley and the U.S. Army Ordnance Museum. The golf course was closed to the public for about a year after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, but it reopened this year.

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