HOA, Condo fraud, theft, and corruption Roundup (May 2017)

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities

 

 

Intervale Woman Accused Of Embezzling Over $100,000 (NH)

by CHRISTIAN MOWER on APRIL 28, 2017

Conway, NH – An Intervale woman is being charged with embezzling over $100,000. According to the Conway Police 53-year-old Lynne Barry was arrested at her home by Bartlett Police on Tuesday.

Police allege that Barry embezzled the money from the Northbrook Condominium Association from April 2014 through October 2015.

She faces two Felony charges of Theft by Unauthorized Taking and one Misdemeanor charge of Tampering with Public/Private Records.

Read more:

http://www.wmwv.com/intervale-woman-accused-of-embezzling-over-100000/

Northbrook condominiums are located near popular ski resorts, so it appears the community is a vacation destination where short-term rentals are common. (A Google search turned up several HomeAway and VRBO rental ads). The website has not been updated in almost two years. I found the policy page most interesting. Check out the access to records policies in this screen shot.

 

NewsChannel 3 Investigates: $22,000 stolen from homeowners association (CA)
The former treasurer and president skipped town.

By: C.J. Ward
Posted: May 01, 2017 04:27 PM PDT
Updated: May 01, 2017 07:19 PM PDT

SANTA PAULA, Calif. – Residents of a Santa Paula condo complex called the NewsChannel Three Tipline looking for justice.

They said two former officers of their homeowners association stole all of their money and skipped town. Despite proving their case in court, they can only watch as their neighborhood slowly deteriorates. They also believe the criminal justice system has let them down.

“It’s been a long fight, very long,” said Joyce Holifield.

Holifield took over as treasurer of the Marin Road Owners Association in October, 2010.

“When I took over there was $9.73 in the account,” said Holifield.

Read more (Video):

http://www.keyt.com/news/newschannel-3-investigates/newschannel-3-investigates-22000-stolen-from-homeowners-association/474258654

So many red flags: Gladys and Victor Orozco – apparently husband and wife – serving as board President and Treasurer; no other owners reviewing the books and records; deferred maintenance; lapsed insurance policies; landscape contractor received a bad check. If it were not for the hard work of former auditor turned board Treasurer, Joyce Holifield, the condo association might never have figured out what happened to all their money. 

To add insult to injury, between the length of time it took to reconstruct the records, and errors made by local law enforcement, Orozcos will not face criminal charges. 

 

Manatee teacher steals $134,000 from condo association (FL)

ABC 7 WWSB May 5,2017

MANATEE CO., Fla. (WWSB) — A Manatee High School teacher is under investigation and facing charges of stealing from a condo association.

Alyson Colosia faces a scheme to defraud charge. Bradenton Beach Police say she and Javier Colosia served as president and treasurer of the Gulf Reach Condo Association.

Police say between 2009 and 2015, the two misappropriated about $134,000 in ATM cash withdrawals and transfers from the association for their personal benefit.

Read more:

http://www.mysuncoast.com/news/local/manatee-teacher-steals-from-condo-association/article_de39abca-31c5-11e7-bc09-03a02348c46d.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=user-share

Couple charged in Bradenton Beach condo fraud

by Kathy Prucnell for islander.org | May 23, 2017

A former president and treasurer of Gulf Reach Condominium Association in Bradenton Beach have been charged with defrauding the Florida not-for-profit corporation of more than $50,000 over a six-year period.

The association address is 1303 Gulf Drive S.

Alyson Colosia, 51, and Javier Colosia, 53, who also own a condo in the 1300 block of Gulf Drive North, were arrested May 3 and charged with the first-degree felony.

The couple pleaded not guilty May 9 in 12th Circuit Court, posted $20,000 bond and were released that day from the Manatee County jail.

Their ability to post bond was delayed by the court to ensure none of it came from a nefarious source. A court investigation into the bond money showed a parent provided the funds.

According to police and court records, the couple made about $134,000 in unauthorized ATM cash withdrawals and other transfers between January 2009 and August 2015.

Read more:

http://www.islander.org/2017/05/couple-charged-in-bradenton-beach-condo-fraud/

 

A new law passed by the FL Legislature, awaiting the Governor’s signature, prohibits the use of debit cards by board members and managers of condo associations. See more here. The condo association paid for an audit, which provided necessary evidence for a year-long investigation, culminating in the arrest of Alyson and Javier Colosia.

Property manager, company plead guilty to wire fraud (CA)

Neal Putnam (Ramona Sentinel)
A Ramona property manager and his company have pleaded guilty to wire fraud in concealing bids to a homeowners association involving improvements and asbestos removal.

Robert Walsh, 38, and his firm, Cornerstone Management Professionals Inc., will be sentenced July 7 in U.S. District Court in San Diego.

Restitution of $247,413 will be paid to the Park Point Loma Homeowner’s Association as part of the sentence, according to court records.

The maximum sentence for Walsh is 20 years in federal prison and the firm could be fined $500,000. However, it is expected that paying restitution will be the focus of sentencing.

Read more:

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/ramona-sentinel/news/local-news/sd-cm-ram-walsh-firm-plead-guilty-20170505-story.html

Back in January, Robert Walsh pleaded not guilty, according to the San Diego Tribune. However, Walsh’s guilty plea is likely to save him from a lengthy prison sentence. Of course, he and his management company will have to fork over nearly three-quarters of a million dollars.

Here’s the US DOJ news release from December 2016:

https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdca/pr/property-manager-and-firm-charged-defrauding-homeowners-association-247000

According to the company website, Cornerstone Management is a member of Community Associations Institute (CAI)

And Robert Walsh has received his CMCA and AMS certifications from trade group CAI, which he proudly displays, as you can see below:

 

Walsh also faces charges from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for environmental crime (making false claims concealing the presence of asbestos at a client’s property).

 

Clearwater attorney disbarred for misappropriating funds (FL)

by Olivia Olsen | May 15, 2017, 8:47pm

TALLAHASSEE — Nicole Mae Frost, an attorney from Clearwater, has been disbarred by the Supreme Court of Florida after an investigation found the attorney culpable in mishandling and misappropriating client funds in two matters.

In both matters, Frost was the representative for two homeowners’ associations, Countryway Homeowners Association Inc. (Countryway) and The Greens of Countryway Homeowners Association Inc. (Greens). In July 2013, Frost received a check from a home sale for $403.63 to be dispersed to Countryway. She also received two checks on May 7, 2014, in the amounts of $313.41 and $1,518.45. In total, Frost held $2,235.49 in her client trust account for Countryway. However, at no time did Frost transfer the funds to the homeowners’ association, and in November 2013, her client trust account dropped to $829.41, according to court documents.

Read more:

http://flarecord.com/stories/511110061-clearwater-attorney-disbarred-for-misappropriating-funds

Although attorney Nicole Mae Frost has been disbarred, the associations have no idea what happened to the money that has disappeared. 

 

Homeowners’ association prez admits to embezzling $300K; worked as civilian for NYPD

Posted on May 17, 2017 at 2:29 PM

BY FRANK DONNELLY fdonnelly@siadvance.com

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — A civilian employee of the Police Department, who as president of a Rossville homeowners’ association used the group’s checking account as his personal piggy bank by siphoning off more than $300,000, pleaded guilty Wednesday to grand larceny.

Danny Juliano was accused of embezzling $366,380 from the Woodbrooke Estates Homeowners Association between October 2011 and February 2015 and then claiming he bought pool supplies with the cash.

Juliano, 51, worked for the Property Clerk Division of the Police Department, said officials.

Read more:

http://www.silive.com/westshore/index.ssf/2017/05/homeowners_association_prez_ad.html

Quite often, the profile of an admitted embezzler is an upstanding member of society, employed in a position of trust. Who would believe that a employee of the local Police Department would violate the trust of neighbors in his HOA?  The former HOA President was sentenced to 5 years of probation and restitution of $300K. 

 

N4T Investigators: Residents fight HOA over possible missing money (AZ)

Posted: May 23, 2017 1:15 AM EDT
Updated: May 23, 2017 12:39 AM EDT
Written By Nick VinZant

Residents of the Cuernavaca Villas housing community say they want to know what happened to potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of HOA dues.

Sources say the money was managed by their former HOA president.

However, when residents asked to see financial records, they say the former president abruptly resigned.

“He’s left us with absolutely no money. We’re just trying to keep the lights on,” said one resident who asked not to be identified.

Several Villas residents contacted News 4 Tucson about the potentially missing money.

They told Investigative Reporter Nick VinZant the financial situation was first noticed last fall.

“The pool kept getting shut down, the power was turned off, the landscaping wasn’t being kept up, we wanted to know what was going on,” said one resident.

Read more (Video):

http://www.kvoa.com/story/35482600/n4t-investigators-residents-fight-hoa-over-possible-missing-money

First big mistake – allowing the HOA President to also serve as manager. Second mistake, only one set of eyes looking at financial records. No one else had access to them. The police will not investigate possible theft without evidence. But why can’t the police investigate missing financial records? Where are the bank statements? Who endorsed assessment checks written by homeowners? Was the money deposited into a bank account, or were the checks cashed? Were there electronic payments? There must be a trail somewhere. 

 

 


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