Shared By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Yet another report of theft and embezzlement perpetrated by a former HOA Treasurer. This time, the money has been repaid, so the sentence has been reduced.
Former homeowners’ association treasurer gets probation, 60 days of jail for stealing nearly $23,000
Christopher Lawrence Norris repaid $22,985 when he was sentenced
By John Chambliss
Published: Wednesday, November 4, 2015 at 10:10 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 4, 2015 at 10:10 a.m.
BARTOW — A former treasurer of a homeowners’ association has been sentenced to five years of probation and 60 days of jail in a weekend work release program for stealing nearly $23,000 from Lake Deeson Woods Property Owners Association.
Christopher Lawrence Norris, 41, of 5171 Lake Deeson Woods Court, was sentenced last week after pleading guilty to forgery, uttering a forgery and grand theft of more than $10,000.
Norris apologized for taking the money from residents in the North Lakeland subdivision.
He told The Ledger on Tuesday that he took the money because he was behind on his mortgage payments and the bank that held his mortgage wouldn’t negotiate with him.
“I’ve paid everything back and I’m still trying to save my house,” Norris said.
Norris, who worked in finance, can no longer work with money, according to the order by Circuit Judge Wayne Durden.
Norris repaid the HOA $22,985 at his sentencing on Oct. 23.
Bill Howe, president of Lake Deeson Woods HOA, said the money in the fund was used for gate repairs and landscaping inside the gated community. Howell said about 40 houses, ranging in value from $300,000 to $500,000, are in the community.
The Lakeland Police Department’s investigation showed that Norris entered a bank in North Lakeland on July 3, 2013, and deposited a check made out to him in the amount of $19,873. The check showed that it was signed by a resident in the community.
Police began an investigation more than a year later. They questioned the resident, who said he never signed the check.
During the investigation, police found that Norris had altered a statement from the bank from July 1 to July 31, 2013, in an attempt to conceal the money he had stolen.
— John Chambliss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 863-802-7588.