John Schalmo, owner of Schalmo Trucking and Excavating Inc., said the man he hired as a construction worker five or six years ago seemed friendly and loyal.
That was before detectives launched a monthslong investigation and concluded that Jason Hoseclaw, 32, burned through $30,000 in six months on a stolen company credit card.
Only truck drivers and foremen at Schalmo Trucking are allowed to use company credit cards, Schalmo said. They're used to buy fuel and construction supplies. He figures Hoseclaw must have stolen one from a foreman's wallet.
Between October and March, Hoseclaw withdrew the $30,000 from ATMs in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties, a Pasco County Sheriff's Office report states.
Schalmo said the company has high limits on its credit cards to account for high fuel and equipment costs. The company didn't have a bookkeeper at the time, either. He said it would have been easy for a few charges to get by.
"(Hoseclaw) slid in and got the money from us before we noticed," Schalmo said. "It put a hurt to us."
Patriot Bank alerted Schalmo to the fraudulent charges and canceled the credit card in March. He fired Hoseclaw in April.
Sheriff's detectives gathered surveillance video of Hoseclaw at several Pasco County ATMs and a Publix before he was arrested Friday on a charge of scheming to defraud.
When confronted, the report states, Hoseclaw told deputies he was using the money to support his children.
"That's a lot of money for six months," said Pasco sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll.
On Tuesday, Hoseclaw, of 5363 Alice Street in Brooksville, remained at Land O'Lakes jail where he is being held in lieu of $5,000 bail. He also has two Hernando County warrants, as the fraud charge violated his probation on previous burglary and grand theft charges.
"He was a good laborer," Schalmo said. "He's just got a theft problem."
Alex Orlando can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6247. Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report.