Employee arrested, fired for defrauding Hurricane Hanks

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A Holmes Beach restaurant manager who doubled his salary for eight months was arrested for fraud.

Benjamin Conlon, 30, of Bradenton, was arrested Oct. 11 for a third-degree felony scheme to defraud Hurricane Hanks restaurant, 5346 Gulf Drive, on a warrant and complaint based on the affidavit of Holmes Beach Police Detective Sgt. Brian Hall.

Hall attested to Conlon obtaining $13,680 by fraudulent pretenses.

Wells Fargo records show the former manager was the only person with access to the payroll system, password and log-in code between September 2017 and June 7, Hall wrote in the Oct. 2 complaint.

Conlon’s normal weekly salary was $720, and bank statements show 19 extra $720 payroll payments deposited into a Conlon account, according to Hall’s affidavit.

According to Brian Mathae, owner of Hurricane Hanks, Conlon was terminated June 6 when the theft was discovered.

In an Oct. 20 email to The Islander, Mathae stated he opened an “odd named file” in the computer and saw historical earnings records for employees and knew “instantly something was wrong” because of the amount shown as paid to Conlon.

The owner called the payroll company and learned duplicate weekly payments were processed by Conlon on multiple occasions, he added.

“Our trust was shattered when we discovered the depth and scope of what transpired. I look forward to due process and the return of the funds that were taken from us. As a small business owner, this is a significant loss to our operation,” Mathae wrote.

Conlon was booked at the Manatee County jail, posted $1,500 bond and was released pending proceedings in the 12th Circuit Court.

His arraignment is set for 9 a.m. Friday, Nov. 9, at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.