Golf tour backer convicted of fraud
A Maui man is guilty of wiring $5,000 in funds
A federal jury has convicted a Maui man for defrauding the 2001 Pro Tour Hawaii, resulting in the demise of the golf series shortly after it began.
Gregg Wood, the tour's financial backer, was found guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court of one count of wire fraud. The wire fraud stems from $5,000 Wood wired from the Pro Tour account to an unidentified individual in California.
Federal public defender Peter Wolff declined comment on the verdict. Under the statute, Wood will be required to make restitution in an amount to be determined later.
A February 2005 indictment accused Wood of defrauding the tour of more than $62,000 by writing checks to himself and depositing money into his personal bank account during the first two months of the 10-event tour. Prosecutors elected to charge Wood with one count of wire fraud involving $5,000.
The tour was canceled in February after only three events, when $700,000 in entry fees were reported missing and winners' checks began bouncing.
Seventy professional golfers from as far as New York paid $11,500 each to play in the tour, which was offering a $100,000 purse for each of the 10 events.
Prosecutors, who could not be reached for comment, had said that Wood had advertised himself as a wealthy man who could provide the resources. Wood, who ran a development company in Florida called Paradise Resort Development Corp., had guaranteed $2.1 million in financial support to use as prize money and for operating expenses. By December 2000 he had become chief financial officer for the Pro Tour and had access to its expense account, according to the indictment.
Beginning in January 2001, Wood allegedly wrote eight checks to himself in amounts from $3,000 to $19,000, according to the indictment.
Sandy Mohr, president and chief executive officer of Pro Tour Hawaii, issued a statement saying that justice has finally been served with Wood's conviction. "We are now looking forward to continuing to pursue our passion and commitment of bringing Pro Tour Hawaii back to reality," he said.
Wood faces a maximum of 20 years and $1 million in fines when sentenced in October.