SAO INVESTIGATION: Golf cart shop used as front for fraud
LAKE ALFRED – Shawn Marlow was arrested Friday, Oct. 14, by investigators with the State Attorney’s Office for stealing $44,175 from his customers and failing to provide them with the goods and services they paid for.
An SAO investigation revealed complaints on Marlow had been filed with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office , Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Lakeland Police Department (LakelandPD) and Lake Alfred Police Department. LAPD alerted the SAO to Marlow’s activity in September, and a total of 13 victims have been identified so far.
Marlow, 46, of Lakeland, was served with a search warrant Friday. SAO investigators – joined by PCSO, LPD, LAPD and the Florida Department of Revenue – obtained evidence from his business, Ron’s Golf Carts, 1870 U.S. Highway 17-92 in Lake Alfred, in order to secure evidence on existing victims and identify new ones.
The Department of Revenue has been looking into Marlow because his company has failed to remit sales taxes since 2014.
Over the past two years, Marlow has taken money and property from customers at his business, promising that he would either repair their broken golf carts or deliver a new one. As months passed and customers began calling Marlow to check on the status of their cart, they received a myriad of excuses as to why their order had not been completed.
In some cases, Marlow deposited checks the same day they were received. One case shows he deposited a check 15 minutes after he received it.
Victims referred to Marlow as a “crook” and the “biggest con artist.” The majority of Marlow’s victims were elderly and were not repaid.
Some of the victims grew tired of waiting and listening to Marlow’s excuses, so they contacted law enforcement. PCSO and LAPD were able to get $25,350 of the stolen funds returned to victims.
If you believe you are one of Marlow’s victims, please contact SAO Investigator Steve Menge at 863-534-4920 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The investigation is ongoing.