HOA, Condo, Co-op Corruption, Fraud, and Theft Roundup (Sept. 2017)

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities

Updated Sept 26, 2017 (10:44 PM)


Florida title attorney gets 40 months in prison for bank fraud, embezzlement, money laundering
Defrauded Bank of America, GulfSouth Private Bank, other banks

September 5, 2017 Ben Lane

A Florida title attorney will spend more than the next three years in prison after being convicted of defrauding several financial institutions, including Bank of America, out of more than $3.6 million in a series of schemes over a four-year period.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida, Richard Colbert received a 40-month prison sentence and was ordered to pay more than $3.7 million in restitution for convictions on one count of conspiracy to commit bank and mail fraud, one count of false statement to a federally insured financial institution, nine counts of money laundering, and two counts of theft, embezzlement or misapplication by a person connected with a financial institution.

Colbert also stole approximately $36,000 from four homeowners/condominium associations that he oversaw in various capacities.

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Florida title attorney gets 40 months in prison for bank fraud, embezzlement, money laundering


Former Gulf Breeze attorney gets prison time, $3.7 million fine in embezzlement case


6:01 pm CDT September 1, 2017

A former Gulf Breeze attorney has been sentenced to more than three years in prison and ordered to pay $3.7 million in restitution for fraud and embezzlement.

Richard Michael Colbert, 56, of Pensacola Beach was sentenced Friday for conspiracy to commit bank and mail fraud, making a false statement to a federally insured financial institution, nine counts of money laundering and two counts of theft, embezzlement or misapplication by a person connected with a financial institution.

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Details from U.S. D.O.J.


In addition to defrauding the financial institutions and embezzling from Beach Community Bank, the government’s evidence also showed that in August 2011, Colbert stole approximately $36,000 from four homeowners/condominium associations that he had been entrusted to oversee.

U.S. Attorney Canova said: “This bank fraud case is a reminder that my office will vigorously prosecute financial representatives who abuse positions of trust for their own gain. This defendant held a responsibility to conduct ethical transactions, and I commend the hard work of the investigators and prosecutors who enforce our federal laws and ensure that justice is served.”

“The role of IRS Criminal Investigation becomes even more important in embezzlement and fraud cases due to the complex financial transactions that take our expertise and skill to unravel,” said Mary Hammond, Special Agent in Charge, Tampa Field Office. “Today’s sentencing of Mr. Colbert is a strong reminder that those who defraud others to enrich themselves will be held accountable.”

The case was investigated by Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation-Office of Inspector General, and the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.



Is 40 months in prison, in addition to $3.7 million restitution an appropriate penalty for embezzlement and bank fraud totaling more than $2.7 million? How much taxpayer money was spent investigating and prosecuting these crimes? And how much additional revenue did Colbert generate from the stolen millions of dollars that he laundered? Four HOAs were also victims of theft by Colbert. But the IRS, FBI, and FDIC investigated only because banks lost millions. 



Charges dropped in alleged condo fraud

by Kathy Prucnell for islander.org | September 5, 2017

The 12th Circuit State Attorney Office has abandoned fraud charges against a former president and treasurer of a three-unit condo association in Bradenton Beach.

Formal charges were filed in May against Alyson and Javier Colosia for allegedly defrauding the Gulf Reach Condominium Association of more than $50,000 between 2009-15 after an investigation by Bradenton Beach police.

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Charges dropped in alleged condo fraud

Assistant State Attorney Andrew Van Sickle dropped charges, he says, due to insufficient evidence. Colosias produced documentation of legitimate expenses, accounting for some of the money in dispute. Gulf Reach Condo Association, according to the report, consists of only three units. Details of the prior arrest was reported in May. A criminal complaint was filed in 2016 by the newly elected condo board. At the time, according to reports, the condo association had filed for foreclosure due to Colosias’ failure to pay assessments. 


Deerfield condo association treasurer accused of embezzlement (MA)

Aviva Luttrell, Recorder Staff
Tuesday, September 26, 2017

SOUTH DEERFIELD — The treasurer of a local condominium association has been charged with embezzlement after police say she stole more than $18,000 from the association’s bank account.

Jeanne E. Grover, 46, of South Deerfield was arraigned in Greenfield District Court this week on charges of fiduciary embezzlement and larceny over $250 after she allegedly stole $18,173 from the Stillwater Condominium Association’s bank account.

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This time, the bank notified the association of suspected fraud, and an investigation led to the subsequent arrest of a former condo board treasurer. 


Valle Vista residents concerned about ballot legality (AZ)

Story by Shawn Byrne
Originally published Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at 05:57a.m.

KINGMAN – A group of residents is concerned about a Valle Vista Property Owner’s Association ballot that has a Friday due date for absentee voters. The residents contend the ballots are illegal, thus rendering the election illegal.

“Property owners of Valle Vista are not aware of it,” said Jay Kulp, a member of the Council of Co-Owners of VVPOA. “This is an invalid ballot in that it does not follow Arizona law and likely violates voting requirements for nonprofit corporations.”

The ballot contains three main items for which votes are being solicited. There is the election of five directors, an assessment increase, and an additional one-time assessment to repair the water tank.

Kulp and the group have agreement from Ryan Esplin, a civil deputy attorney for Mohave County. Esplin wrote Supervisor Gary Watson an email explaining his position about the ballot.

“The ballot does not comply with the statutory requirements for conducting ballots pursuant to ARS 33-1812,” Esplin wrote. “I think there is valid argument that the ballot is invalid because it did not include all of the statutory requirements for an absentee ballot.”

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I include this report in the roundup because distribution of invalid absentee election ballots, if done so with ill intent, amounts to corruption. However, in Arizona and other states, breaking state law with regard to condo or homeowners association voting ballots is not considered a criminal offense. (Florida is the only state that makes tampering with condominum ballots a criminal offense). Onwers’ only recourse is to take the matter to civil court and ask a judge for an injunction (court order) to invalidate the election and start over with proper ballots.

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