Crime & Public Safety

Here’s how the ex-Sea Pines exec will pay back the resort after allegedly embezzling $1.4M

A crime both small and big businesses are victims of: embezzlement

Ever wonder what embezzlement is? This white collar crime is hurting businesses all over.
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Ever wonder what embezzlement is? This white collar crime is hurting businesses all over.

A former Sea Pines Resort vice president is selling two Hilton Head properties to help pay back the more than $1.4 million he allegedly embezzled from the south end resort.

Jeffrey Kruse is accused of making fraudulent payments when he was in charge of food and beverage for the resort to Destination Hospitality Group, a shell company he created, a lawsuit filed by the Sea Pines Resort contends.

The alleged embezzlement happened over at least 12 years, according to the suit filed in March 2018, which seeks $1,483,467.56.

A judge has allowed Kruse to sell a home he owned in Port Royal Plantation and a condo he owned in Palmetto Dunes to pay the resort back. Kruse will receive “none of the sales proceeds, and plaintiff Sea Pines (will) receive all of the net proceeds of the sale,” according to the suit.

His former Port Royal Plantation home at 23 Scarborough Head Road is listed as “sold” on as of Jan. 31.

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An online real estate listing for a property owned by Jeffrey Kruse that was sold Jan. 31., screenshot.

According to the most recent order filed with the court, the home was sold for $600,000. Sea Pines will receive the net profit: $454,509.30.

The condominium at 110 S. Mariners Inn in Palmetto Dunes will be “transferred to a third party.” Sea Pines will receive $185,000 from the release, the order said.

Mitchell Griffith, the lawyer representing Kruse, declined comment Thursday on what he called an ongoing matter.

A statement from Sea Pines said “the net proceeds (from Kruse’s home sales) are a reimbursement for a portion of the losses named in the 2018 lawsuit.”

Asked if Kruse has been criminally charged yet, the resort statement said “we are unaware of any criminal charges at this time.”

Kruse hasn’t been charged in the case, Capt. Bob Bromage, spokesperson for the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, said Thursday.

The FBI confirmed to The Island Packet in August that the bureau was investigating the incident.

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Katherine Kokal moved to South Carolina in 2018 after graduating from the University of Missouri and loves everything about the Lowcountry that isn’t a Palmetto Bug. She has won South Carolina Press Association awards for in-depth and government beat reporting. On the weekends, you can find Kati doing yoga and hiking Pinckney Island.