$2.8M embezzled from HOA: After two-year investigation, former Woodlake manager charged, booked for theft; pleads not guilty

Shared by Deborah Goonan

Commentary: As you read this report, keep in mind that California law requires Community Managers to be licensed. Susan Lambert had received her CMCA certification through Community Associations Institute (CAI). Lambert is now charged with embezzling $2.8 million from Woodlake Association Community in San Mateo, CA. Lambert, who was reportedly being paid a salary of $200,000 until she was fired 2 years ago, pleads not guilty. The Judge has set bail at $1 million.
Although Lambert, if convicted, will have her license and certifications suspended, the report highlights the importance of having multiple homeowners keeping an eye on the financial reports in the community. All members of a homeowners or condo association have the right to know how their money is being spent, and an obligation to take an active role in following that money. Unfortunately, many Owners Associations do not provide easy access to official documents and financial reports, and some have even begun to charge fees for copies.
Quite often, embezzlement and financial fraud goes on for several years before it is discovered by victims, usually because the perpetrator is trusted and no one else is looking at the bank statements and accounting ledgers.

HOA: After two-year investigation, former Woodlake manager charged, booked for theft; pleads not guilty

September 17, 2015, 05:00 AM By Samantha Weigel Daily Journal

After a nearly two-year investigation, the former manager of the Woodlake Homeowners Association was booked into county jail Wednesday for allegedly embezzling nearly $2.8 million from the San Mateo residents’ group.

Susan Marie Lambert, a 64-year-old Fremont resident, has been charged with two felonies for conspiring to defraud the homeowners between Feb. 8, 2007, and September 2013, according to prosecutors.

Lambert’s alleged crimes were discovered after the 990-unit condominium association fired her and uncovered a stack of nearly 150 false invoices for construction work that was never completed, according to prosecutors.

Lambert pleaded not guilty after surrendering in court Wednesday morning and was booked on $1 million bail, according to prosecutors.

The San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office filed charges Sept. 1 against Lambert and her alleged co-conspirator Michael Anthony Medeiros, a 58-year-old Fremont man, who has yet to be arrested.

Faced with multiple enhancements, including aggravated white-collar crime, the duo could face nearly six years in prison if convicted, according to prosecutors.

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