Mark Vanburk

A Mishawaka man was arrested for allegedly stealing more than $50,000 from a Warsaw car dealership where he worked.

Mark David Vanburk, 52, Mishawaka, was charged with theft, a Level 5 felony.

He was booked into the Kosciuszko County Jail at 7:10 p.m. on April 25 on $10,250 bail.

According to the probable cause affidavit, in January 2021, the Indiana State Police opened an investigation into a car dealership employee (Vanburk) exercising unauthorized control over company funds.

ISP conducted an investigation over several months and conducted interviews, subpoenaed financial records and engaged in an investigation into the alleged conduct, according to the affidavit.

During the investigation, an ISP official learned that in February 2018, Vanburk was hired to be the dealership’s chief operating officer and general manager at a salary of $20,000 per month. In March 2018, Vanburk and the dealership’s CEO formed a joint venture in vehicle breakdown warranty and insurance. After the sale, their business will receive a commission from the warranty and insurance company for each policy sold. Any distribution from this bank account had to be authorized by the CEO.

Between June 29, 2019 and July 3, 2020, Vanburk endorsed 10 checks from insurance companies for warranties and omissions made on their business in the amount of $48,085. Vanburk deposited these checks into his personal escrow account. Employer has not authorized Vanburk to deposit or use these funds for personal use.

The employer also reported other instances of unauthorized charges to the company credit card and unauthorized expenses through the company bank account, including $4,787.69 to pay for a trip for him and his ex-wife to Jamaica, $1,254.30 to pay for dental services, $1,000 to the Notre Dame Ticket Office and $3,262.55 to Oakwood Resort.

The officer interviewed Vanburk about his work at the company. Vanburk denied telling anyone he owned or co-owned the company. Vanburk allegedly admitted to making personal charges on the company’s credit card because he allegedly didn’t have the money due to his ongoing divorce and his parents’ health issues. Vanburk said his employer told him he needed to stop making personal payments, and Vanburk stopped.

Vanburk allegedly admitted the charges to the Oakwood Resort, the Notre Dame ticket office and the dental office and said the charges for the Oakwood Resort and dental services were approved by his employer. Vanburk also said the travel fee to Jamaica was also approved by his employer. He said some of the personal charges were made with the assumption that the employer would go along with them, but Vanburke’s intention was to repay the employer.

Regarding the 10 checks, Vanburk said that at the end of the business, he took out the rest of the money as a loan to avoid paying taxes. He said the money would be returned to the company or split between him and the employer. Vanburk allegedly said he used the $48,085 to pay for a house and pay his parents’ medical bills.

In December 2021, an ISP employee spoke with the employer, and the employer said that on August 13, 2020, Vanburk cleared his desk and took company documents and left without formally resigning. The employer said Vanburk had wiped the company computer he had been using. The employer denied allowing Vanburk to use the company card for personal expenses.

Other missing money included a $2,000 check that Vanburk allegedly wrote in advances, according to the affidavit. The officer subpoenaed Vanburk’s financial records and found 15 additional dishonored checks totaling $39,534.29. Twelve of these checks had an “advance” on the memo line. The employer denied authorizing any advances to Vanburk and said Vanburk received a salary of $20,000 per month via direct deposit.

Two employees are said to have said that Vanburk pretended to be a co-owner of the company. One employee said Vanburk allegedly authorized advances on his salary, but they were deducted from his regular wages. One of the employees provided the employee with a personal expense accounts receivable report for Vanburk totaling $27,478.62, of which $1,609.84 was returned.

During the investigation, it was alleged that the amount of funds that were taken from the company exceeded $50,000.