Obiter Dicta

Fairway Frolics

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If you heard the word “hooker” associated with a golf tournament, you might think of some hapless duffer. After all, that other type of hooker would have no reason to loiter on the links, right?

Well, there were three people who thought otherwise in 2002 when they put together a tournament that was definitely not par for the course.

Jason Wood, the general manager of the Hidden Valley Golf Club in Norco, Calif., and his assistant, Darren Bollinger, teamed up with acquaintance Sandy Juarez to organize the tournament.

Police say the entertainment, partaken of inside tents placed near several tees, consisted of liquor, strippers and prostitutes. (Talk about a pro shop!) Outside, there were signs listing available services and the costs for same.

During the tournament, which attracted about 160 golfers, sheriff’s deputies–stationed along the periphery in camouflage with binoculars–moved in and made numerous arrests. Police acted after hearing reports that this was the second tournament to offer extracurricular activities.

The case wrapped up in November when Wood, Bollinger and Juarez–who had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to corrupt public morals–were sentenced to 150 days in jail and three years’ probation.

In addition, says Arthur Chang, deputy district attorney for Riverside County, each must donate $10,000 to a women’s shelter or other designated charity.

Chang sums it up succinctly with the following maxim: “Golf and prostitutes don’t mix very well.”

The Love Bandit

Man Gets Date in Court for Using

County Cash for Online Matchmaking Officials in Madison County, Ill., near St. Louis, would prefer not to underwrite David Wroten’s love life.

But that’s what nearly happened when Wroten charged $39.95 for joining an online dating service to the county jail’s bank account, says the local sheriff.

Wroten’s scheme was detected by the Bank of Edwardsville, where personnel noticed the unusual transaction and notified the office of Madison County Sheriff Robert Hertz. After that, breaking the case was easy, Hertz says. “He sent his picture as part of his dating service,” Hertz adds. “Name, contact, interests. This was like shooting ducks out of a pond. He pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay us restitution of $39.95.” Wroten also was placed on two years’ probation.

Wroten would not have had the opportunity to finance his amorous escapades with Madison County’s money if he had not already been jailed on a forgery charge. That case is still pending.

When he was jailed on the forgery charge, Wroten was required to turn over to the county any cash he was carrying for safekeeping. The county issued him a check for the money upon his release. Wroten charged the dating service fee to the bank account number that was stamped on the county’s check.

“The bank notified us when the electronic transfer came across,” explains the sheriff. “The bank did its job.”

As for whether Wroten got any dates–other than the one in court–for his efforts, Hertz says, “That I don’t know.”

Written by Brian Sullivan and James Podgers; Research by Wendell LaGrand.

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