Edward Soike, a former park manager at the Jellystone Campground near Plymouth, Ind., has been charged with taking more than $116,000 from the park from 2005 through August of last year.
Soike turned himself in to authorities Jan. 24 after a warrant was issued on the Class C felony charge in Marshall Superior Court I the previous day. He was held in the Marshall County Jail in Plymouth on bond of $20,000 cash or $100,000 surety, according to the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune.
In the probable cause affidavit filed with the court, Soike is alleged to have told investigators that “he did have extensive control over the money flowing into and out of the Jellystone Park bank accounts” and that “he exerted unauthorized control over large amounts of cash from the cash deposits and also from the bank accounts” of the park “without the permission, or knowledge of the park board.”
Jellystone was incorporated in 1936 by Marshall County Membership Corp.
The affidavit also states that Soike told investigators he had been taking the money to pay off an unknown blackmailer who threatened to “disclose certain items of embarrassing information” to the park board. Soike allegedly told police “he would take large amounts of cash of approximately $25,000 and place it in a bag and leave it behind a trash can in a public park under the instructions of the anonymous caller.”
Soike allegedly told investigators he made those drops about five times, accounting for all of the missing money.
Detective Lt. Ward Byers of the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department stated in the affidavit that Soike, in 2006, made “numerous trips” to Las Vegas and “was also a frequent visitor to the Blue Chip” (casino) in Michigan City, Ind. Byers said in the affidavit that Soike racked up a gambling loss at Blue Chip during the first eight months of 2007 in excess of $20,000.
Soike served as manager at Jellystone from the fall of 2005 until August 2007.
The theft charge carries a sentencing range of two to eight years upon conviction, and a maximum fine of $10,000.