Former Tradewinds employees accused of $780,000 theft - WFLA News Channel 8

Former Tradewinds employees accused of $780,000 theft

Posted: Updated:
PINELLAS COUNTY, FL -

Two former employees of the Tradewinds Resort in St. Pete Beach are accused of embezzling more than $780,000 from the resort in a scheme that lasted several years.

Former Tradewinds chief financial officer Sam Baage, 58, and the former head of the information technology department Harold James, 46, were arrested Monday and charged with grand theft, money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

James was arrested in Tarpon Springs, while his former boss was arrested at the Setai Hotel and Resort in Miami Beach, where he has been working as chief financial officer.

The two men are accused of creating shell corporations that purported to do business with Tradewinds. The theft occurred between Jan. 1, 2007 and Feb. 16, 2012, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said.

"They were billing the Tradewinds for services they never received, and these monies were actually getting transferred into the accounts for these false corporations that never existed," said sheriff's office spokeswoman Cecilia Barreda.

Both men were fired from Tradewinds in early 2012.

The investigation began at the St. Pete Beach Police Department with a tip more than a year ago and evolved into a larger investigation with the sheriff's office economic crimes unit this winter when the police department merged into the sheriff's office.

According to state Division of Corporations records, Baage and James were involved in two companies together during the time in question. Both the Vam Wash, Inc. and James Enterprises of Leesburg, Inc. companies were dissolved in 2008.

James appeared in front of a judge Thursday in Pinellas County, where his lawyer tried to get his $735,000 bond reduced.

The lawyer, Barry Taracks, said James sat down for hours with auditors and didn't flee when he knew a civil and criminal investigation was underway.

The judge did not grant a bond reduction but said James could request one from the judge who signed his arrest warrant.

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Magic diet pill promoter found running new business in Tampa

    Magic diet pill promoter found running new business in Tampa

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 5:02 PM EDT2014-09-02 21:02:23 GMT
    File Photo: Nick CongletonFile Photo: Nick Congleton
    Nick Congleton is in hot water with the FTC for selling "magic diet pills," and under investigation by Florida's Attorney General for a defunct travel club that owes hundreds of consumers for vacations they never received.Now, he's keeping a low profile and running a new business out of an unmarkedwarehouse in the Channelside District, where he didn't have much to say to Eight On Your Side this morning.
    Nick Congleton is in hot water with the FTC for selling "magic diet pills," and under investigation by Florida's Attorney General for a defunct travel club that owes hundreds of consumers for vacations they never received.Now, he's keeping a low profile and running a new business out of an unmarkedwarehouse in the Channelside District, where he didn't have much to say to Eight On Your Side this morning.
  • Home Depot probing 'Unusual Activity' after reports of data breach

    Home Depot probing 'Unusual Activity' after reports of data breach

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 1:55 PM EDT2014-09-02 17:55:41 GMT
    Home Depot may be the latest retailer to suffer a massive credit card breachHome Depot may be the latest retailer to suffer a massive credit card breach
    Home Depot may be the latest retailer to have suffered a massive credit card breach, the company confirmed on Tuesday, after Krebs on Security reported that a large cache of stolen data had appeared on black market sites.
    Home Depot may be the latest retailer to have suffered a massive credit card breach, the company confirmed on Tuesday, after Krebs on Security reported that a large cache of stolen data had appeared on black market sites.
  • Community reaches out to Spring Hill family after theft of lawn equipment

    Community reaches out to Spring Hill family after theft of lawn equipment

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 8:45 AM EDT2014-09-02 12:45:21 GMT
    Michael Depace wants to say "thank you" and give a huge hug to everyone that reached out after a thief stole $3,500 worth of lawn equipment from him.
    Michael Depace wants to say "thank you" and give a huge hug to everyone that reached out after a thief stole $3,500 worth of lawn equipment from him.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Magic diet pill promoter found running new business in Tampa

    Magic diet pill promoter found running new business in Tampa

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 5:02 PM EDT2014-09-02 21:02:23 GMT
    File Photo: Nick CongletonFile Photo: Nick Congleton
    Nick Congleton is in hot water with the FTC for selling "magic diet pills," and under investigation by Florida's Attorney General for a defunct travel club that owes hundreds of consumers for vacations they never received.Now, he's keeping a low profile and running a new business out of an unmarkedwarehouse in the Channelside District, where he didn't have much to say to Eight On Your Side this morning.
    Nick Congleton is in hot water with the FTC for selling "magic diet pills," and under investigation by Florida's Attorney General for a defunct travel club that owes hundreds of consumers for vacations they never received.Now, he's keeping a low profile and running a new business out of an unmarkedwarehouse in the Channelside District, where he didn't have much to say to Eight On Your Side this morning.
  • Dead fish creating problems on Honeymoon Island

    Dead fish creating problems on Honeymoon Island

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 4:43 PM EDT2014-09-02 20:43:31 GMT
    Red Tide spotted on the shore of Honeymoon Island.Red Tide spotted on the shore of Honeymoon Island.
    Scattered on the shore of Honeymoon Island in Pinellas county are hundreds of dead fish.Park rangers started noticing the fish wash on shore on Friday, just before one of the busiest holiday weekends of the year."In some spots it scattered and as you move up north on the beach it's up in the hundreds of fish," said park manager Pete Krulder.
    Scattered on the shore of Honeymoon Island in Pinellas county are hundreds of dead fish.Park rangers started noticing the fish wash on shore on Friday, just before one of the busiest holiday weekends of the year."In some spots it scattered and as you move up north on the beach it's up in the hundreds of fish," said park manager Pete Krulder.
  • Explosion at beverage packaging facility in Lakeland

    Explosion at beverage packaging facility in Lakeland

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 4:24 PM EDT2014-09-02 20:24:13 GMT
    An explosion at a Lakeland beverage packaging facility sent a 60,000-pound boiler onto a CSX railroad track Tuesday morning. The boiler, which holds 4,000 gallons of steam, was half-filled.
    An explosion at a Lakeland beverage packaging facility sent a 60,000-pound boiler onto a CSX railroad track Tuesday morning. The boiler, which holds 4,000 gallons of steam, was half-filled.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.