Mark Vanburk
Mark Vanburk
A Mishawaka man was arrested for allegedly stealing over $50,000 from a Warsaw car dealership he worked at.

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

He was booked into the Kosciusko County Jail at 7:10 p.m. April 25 on a $10,250 preliminary bond.

According to the probable cause affidavit, in January 2021 the Indiana State Police opened an investigation into a car dealership employee (Vanburk) exerting 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 trooper learned that in February 2018 Vanburk was hired to be the dealership’s chief operating officer and general manager, with a salary of $20,000 per month. In March 2018, Vanburk and the dealership’s CEO created a business together regarding warranty and gap insurance for vehicles. After sales, their business would receive a commission from the warranty and gap insurance company for any policy sold. Any distribution from that bank account had to be authorized by the CEO.

Between June 29, 2019, and July 3, 2020, Vanburk endorsed 10 checks from the warranty and gap insurance companies made out to their businesses in the amount of $48,085. Vanburk deposited those checks into his personal deposit account. The employer did not authorize Vanburk to deposit or use those funds for personal use.

The employer also reported other instances of unauthorized charges to the company credit card and unauthorized expenses through the company banking 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 the Oakwood Resort.

The trooper interviewed Vanburk regarding his employment with the company. Vanburk denied telling anyone he was an owner or co-owner of the company. Vanburk allegedly admitted to making personal charges on the company credit card because he allegedly didn’t have money due to his ongoing divorce and his parents had health issues. Vanburk said the employer told him he had to stop making personal charges and Vanburk stopped.

Vanburk allegedly admitted to the charges to the Oakwood Resort, the Notre Dame ticket office and the dental office and said the Oakwood Resort and dental services charges were approved by his employer. Vanburk also said the charge for the trip to Jamaica was also approved by his employer. He said some of the personal charges were made on the assumption the employer would be OK with them, but it was Vanburk’s intent to pay the employer back.

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

In December 2021, an ISP trooper spoke with the employer and the employer said on Aug. 13, 2020, Vanburk cleaned out his desk  and took company documents and left without formally resigning. The employer said Vanburk allegedly wiped the company computer he used. The employer denied he let Vanburk use the company card for personal expenses.

Other missing monies included a $2,000 check that Vanburk allegedly wrote advances on, according to the affidavit. The trooper subpoenaed Vanburk’s financial records  and discovered 15 additional unauthorized checks totaling $39,534.29. Twelve of those checks had “advance” in the memo line. The employer denied authorizing any advances for Vanburk and said Vanburk was paid a salary of $20,000 per month by direct deposit.

Two employees allegedly said Vanburk held himself out as the co-owner of the company. One of the employees said Vanburk allegedly authorized advances of his salary but they were deducted from his regular paychecks. One of the employees provided the trooper with an accounts receivable report of personal expenses for Vanburk totaling $27,478.62, of which $1,609.84 had been paid back.

During the investigation, it is alleged the amount of funds to have been taken from the company exceeded $50,000.