By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Another week, and yet another report of HOA embezzlement.
Condo owners in Pickwick Manor, Leominster, Massachusetts, are struggling with a financial shortfall on the heels of the arrest of their former Association President and condo manager, Judith Remy, and her son, Raymond Remy.
According to the report, the thefts took place from 2010-2015, leaving the association in debt exceeding $160,000. With 72 units, monthly assessments have been increased by $80-$100 per month for the next couple of years to repay utilities and other debts. Many of the condo owners are retired and living on fixed incomes.
Leominster condo owners stuck with big debt as ex-association president, son charged in theft
This case has all the typical hallmarks of embezzlement: a trusted individual with sole control of the accounts, fraudulent check cashing over a number of years, unpaid bills of which condo owners were unaware, a complete lack of transparency. Apparently, the Association was not insured against losses from theft by board members, hired staff, or third parties.
The article is a bit unclear, but it appears that Remy served as both board member and condo manager. It is also unclear whether Remy was receiving compensation. Her name still appears on numerous websites as the condo manager for Pickwick Manor.
Apparently there weren’t many condo owners willing and able to volunteer for serving on the board. And those that did serve lacked the knowledge, skills, experience, or ethical standards to serve well.
Public records indicate that a one-bedroom condo at Pickwick Manor sold in September 2015 for $44,900, a decrease in value from a 2014 sale of a similar unit for $66,000. Condo owners are facing a financial hardship, particularly because now nobody wants to buy a condo at Pickwick Manor.
So much for carefree condo living, and the myth that associations protect property values.