A former Kamloops golf pro who bilked golfers for more than $40,000 to fund a gambling habit will spend 18 months under house arrest.
Chris Power pleaded guilty in Kamloops provincial court on Thursday (Oct. 29) to a dozen fraud charges stemming from a series of interactions he had with members while working as the head pro at Rivershore Estates and Golf Links in 2016 and 2017.
Crown prosecutor Mark Wolf said Power’s scheme was unsophisticated — he would offer memberships or golf clubs for sale and pocket the cash, rather than give it to his employer.
The value of the transactions ranged from $600 to more than $7,300, Wolf said, noting Rivershore honoured all purchases — even when Power did not.
In a victim-impact statement, Rivershore president Rick Summer said the frauds took place at a difficult time for the golf course. Margins were thin, he said, and capital expenditures had to be put off to absorb the unanticipated losses.
Wolf said Summer and other victims wished Power well, despite the deceit.
“Some of them said they thought Mr. Power was a good person and they hoped he could move forward with his life,” Wolf said.
Power blamed his crimes on a sports gambling addiction.
“I started gambling a couple bucks to five bucks to 20 bucks,” he said. “I won $20,000 a couple times in a row and, once you win that type of money, it changed my mindset. I thought I could win more and more and more and more. Obviously, that didn’t happen.”
Court heard Power is unemployed and has been living on the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), but is looking for work. He said he hasn’t gambled in recent months.
“I wish I’d never won that money,” he said. “If I never did, maybe we wouldn’t be talking right now.”
Kamloops provincial court Judge Raymond Phillips agreed to a joint submission for an 18-month conditional sentence order, which will see Power live under house arrest for that time period. He also ordered Power to repay $40,664 to Rivershore to cover its losses stemming from his offences.
“Mr. Power, you stole some money from some very forgiving people,” Phillips said.
“At the end of the day, they hope you rehabilitate yourself. They seem to think you’re a good person. It wasn’t easy for them. You made it very difficult for them. But this corporation is a stand-up corporation. They repaid that money to all those customers. Now it’s your responsibility to pay that back to them.”