HOA, condo, co-op fraud, theft, & corruption roundup (Nov. 2017)


By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities


Charleston accounting manager charged with embezzling more than $750,000 (SC)

By Dave Munday dmunday@postandcourier.com Oct 26, 2017 Updated Oct 27, 2017

An accounting manager accused of embezzling from her Charleston employer was in court asking for a public defender Thursday, after federal prosecutors accused her of depositing more than $750,000 in two unauthorized bank accounts.

There was no clue what became of money Donna Haynes allegedly siphoned off from Community Management Group over five years.

Haynes, 48, who lives near Summerville, was arraigned on charges of defrauding the Folly Road company and the Internal Revenue Service. According to its website, Community Management Group manages more than 100 neighborhoods and homeowner associations throughout the Charleston region.

“No homeowner association funds were able to be diverted, were diverted or were threatened to be diverted by this wrongdoer,” Pecoy said. “She was only able to divert payments from and to outside third parties. Community Management Group’s internal processes and checks and balances would not have allowed any such theft of HOA funds.”

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A bit of poetic justice? In this case, instead of allegedly defrauding HOAs, Haynes is accused of siphoning a large sum of money from a prominent management company. But, let’s face it. If Haynes was diverting three-quarters of a million dollars from Community Management Group, the underreported revenue created lower profit margins for the company, putting pressure on prices for their services. And, who paid the invoices for these “outside third parties,” either directly or indirectly? Makes sense that CMG’s client HOAs paid inflated costs for services. 


Brooksville property manager faces charge of grand theft (FL)

Times staff

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 1:15pm

BROOKSVILLE — Police said a property manager pocketed tens of thousands in rent, fees and security deposits between May and September.

Maria Marriage, 35, was charged with grand theft. Police said she stole more than $45,000 from her employer, Freedom Gardens, an apartment complex on the south side of Brooksville.

The company called the Brooksville Police Department in late September. After an internal audit and police investigation lasting four weeks, authorities formally charged Marriage. Authorities said she manipulated the company’s computer system in an effort to hide the thefts.

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Freedom Gardens is a new affordable housing complex of rental apartments. 


Former Albuquerque HOA President charged with embezzlement, forgery

By Gabrielle Burkhart
Published: November 2, 2017, 10:00 pm Updated: November 3, 2017, 5:22 am

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Residents in a small pocket of Albuquerque claim one of their neighbors has been quietly pocketing their money for years. Now, the alleged victims hope a fresh look at the case may bring about some justice.

There’s something bothering a quiet northeast Albuquerque subdivision near Edith and Paseo, where neighbors claim their cries for help have gone unanswered for years. That is, until now.

Desiree Pepin, former president of the Los Colinas Homeowners Association, was arraigned on felony embezzlement and forgery charges more than three years after her neighbors took their case to Bernalillo County Sheriff’s detectives.

“It’s an excellent paper trail we have, we figured it’d be wrapped up pretty quickly, so it was extra frustrating when they kept stringing us along and not doing anything,” explained Konrad Dzula, current President of the Los Colinas HOA.

Read more (Video)

Former Albuquerque HOA President charged with embezzlement, forgery


One of the facts that stands out in this report: Pepin had a criminal record at the time she served as HOA President. It may be shocking to readers to learn that state laws do not require a background check or bonding for Board members or managers of association-governed, common interest communities. Another disturbing fact: it took three years just for HOA members to get attention from the District Attorney, who is finally pursuing criminal charges. KQRE includes a link to the HOA’s Civil Complaint at the bottom of the transcript. 


Crime Trackers: HOA treasurer accused of stealing more than $200,000 (AZ)

Posted: Nov 06, 2017 4:53 PM EST
Updated: Nov 07, 2017 12:58 AM EST
Written By Lupita Murillo

GREEN VALLEY – A trusted member of the community is accused of ripping off a home owner’s association in Green Valley.

79-year-old Wendell Byram allegedly stole more than $200,000, leaving homeowners in the lurch.

In April, Byram showed up at the Pima County Sheriff’s department in Green Valley, admitted to the theft and turned himself in, investigators said.

A homeowner, who wants to remain anonymous, said they are very familiar with the case. They live in the neighborhood where Byram was the treasurer for the home owner’s association for the last seven years.

“He apparently had the full trust of the board members,” the neighbor said. “They never asked to look at bank statements, and he kept two sets of books.”

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According to an owner who wishes to remain anonymous, declining to show his face on camera, the money Byram is accused of stealing was supposed to be used to repair the HOA’s private roads. For several years, none of the past board members or residents ever asked to see actual bank statements, until a new President was elected to the board. 


November 08, 2017
Former condo manager awaits sentencing in skimming case


A Chicago man who was accused of skimming more than $1 million from dozens of North Side condo associations has pleaded guilty to mail fraud and is to be sentenced in January.

Alan Gold, who managed A.P. Gold Realty & Management, pleaded guilty to a single charge of mail fraud in August in a case in which federal prosecutors said he misappropriated a total of $1.25 million from 44 homeowners associations he managed.

His sentencing, previously scheduled for the end of November, has been pushed back to Jan. 23, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

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The former A.P. Gold Manager admits fraudulent acts involving hundreds of condominium units. Interestingly, federal prosecutors are not naming the condo associations who were victims of this scam. See my previous blog post on A.P. Gold Realty


Woman ordered to pay $66K in restitution in theft case (NH)

Daymond Steer Nov 9, 2017 Updated Nov 9, 2017

OSSIPEE — An Intervale woman has been sent to jail and ordered to pay more than $66,400 in restitution to a local condo association as a result of pleading guilty to theft.

Lynne Barry, 54, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft by unauthorized taking in Carroll County Superior Court on Nov. 3. She was sentenced to a year in jail with all but one month suspended for one year.

She also must pay $66,408 in restitution to Northbrook Condominium Association and perform 20 hours of community service.

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It appears that restitution for total amount of alleged theft was substantially reduced in the plea bargain. 


Contractors accused of stealing from condo owners on Marco Island

Posted: Nov 09, 2017 6:19 PM EST
Updated: Nov 09, 2017 9:37 PM EST
By Alexa Santos, Collier County reporter

Some Marco Island condo owners claim workers that were paid to fix their properties stole from them.

Many condos along the water in Marco Island still have damage from Hurricane Irma and need repairs.

Marco Island condo owner, Jeanne Wagner, is taking issue with those who have been hired to work on her condo.

She said, “My husband came home from work unexpectedly, and found an unaccompanied worker in our unit.”

Wagner said her husband later discovered missing cash, binoculars, and their drawers rummaged through.

Read more (Video):


Several owners report personal property and cash went missing after post-hurricane contractors entered their condo units. 

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