HOA, condo, & co-op corruption and fraud roundup (April 2019)

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities

Updated April 29, 2019 7:35 PM EDT

This month: a bumper crop of HOA embezzlement and fraud investigations, arrests, and plea deals. Most of the crimes were committed by former HOA board members or managers.

A common theme in these reports — the embezzler makes all kinds of lame excuses for stealing from neighbors, and then tries to bargain with the HOA to avoid criminal charges. Quite often, white-collar crime is repeated, even following a plea deal and conviction.

 

Before managing LOWA, alleged embezzler stole from a previous employer (VA)

*Correction, Mayberry entered a NOT guilty plea. A previous version of this article mistakenly stated that Mayberry entered a guilty plea. 

The former manager of Lake of the Woods Association, Roy C. Mayberry, awaits his October jury trial. He remains in jail after entering a not guilty plea on money laundering and embezzlement charges.

Officials say Mayberry stole $450,000 over the course of 4 years, and paid back $87,000 to the HOA last year. The Association filed a claim with its fidelity bond insurance provider, and received $369,000.

Investigators also discovered that Mayberry embezzled more than $80,000 from his previous employer. He used part of the money he stole from LOW to repay Security Solutions of Fairfax, a company that never even reported the theft to police.

If convicted, Mayberry reportedly faces a very long prison term and up to $4 million in fines.

A 7-member volunteer board of directors governs LOWA. The lake community is situated halfway between Fredericksburg and Culpepper, and consists of 4,260 lots.

Source:

Alleged LOW embezzler pleads not guilty
By Amber Galaviz ORANGE COUNTY REVIEW
Apr 25, 2019

 

Missing money leads to investigation (VA)

Upscale HOAs are not immune to embezzlement schemes. And even if your HOA has minimal annual dues and common areas to maintain, it can still be an attractive target to a would-be thief.

The perfect opportunity exists when everyone “keeps to themselves,” and no one pays attention to the person or people managing the money and supposedly paying the bills.

At this point, no one has been named or arrested, but investigators will soon figure out what happened to $60,000 at Conjurer’s Neck HOA, a community in Colonial Heights, just south of Richmond.

That’s a heck of a lot of money, when you consider that annual fees are only around $150.

Source:

Police investigating after $60k vanishes from Colonial Heights HOA
POSTED 5:24 PM, APRIL 26, 2019, BY WAYNE COVIL AND VERNON FREEMAN JR., UPDATED AT 03:46PM, APRIL 27, 2019

 

 

Plea deal in Maryland HOA conspiracy case

Ulysee Davis avoided a jury trial at the last minute, by pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges in connection with theft of more than $100,000 from South Hampton Homeowners’ Association.

Davis, his wife, daughter, and the HOA Treasurer and his spouse are charged with conspiring to commit theft from the HOA. The money was reportedly filtered through bogus HOA vendor accounts.

Following his guilty plea, Davis might be able to avoid jail time, and charges against his wife and daughter could be dropped, pending a restitution agreement with the HOA before October.

The HOA Treasurer, Benedicto Afroilan and his wife, Elsa, have not filed any plea agreements, and still await trial.

Source:

HOA president pleads to misdemeanor in embezzlement case
By Paul Lagasse plagasse@somdnews.com
Apr 18, 2019

 

Before she was indicted for stealing from her HOA, woman admitted to stealing from her previous employer (WV, PA)

April S. Spinks was already on parole for stealing more than $1,000 from a restaurant in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where she was once employed. This month, she was arrested for allegedly embezzling $7,500 from the New Hope Acres Property Owners Association in Morgan County, West Virginia.

The HOA President says Spinks’ light sentence in Pennsylvania failed to deter her from allegedly engaging in theft from the HOA, while she served as its Treasurer. He also says the HOA board didn’t find about Spinks’ record in Pennsylvania until after charges were filed in West Virginia.

Source:

Woman who stole more than $1K at Carlisle Barracks hit with new embezzlement charge in West Virginia
Updated Apr 22, 2019; Posted Apr 22, 2019

 

If police won’t investigate condo fraud, this private company will (FL)

A new private investigation firm, South Florida Property Owners Consulting LLC (SFPOC) investigated suspicious activity in a Cutler Bay condominium association, resulting in the arrest of 55-year-ol Orlando León.

The former HOA President is accused of using condo association money to install air conditioning in his own unit.

Attorney Elizabeth Pons, who is an owner at Le Club at Old Cutler Condominium, said that reports made to the state’s Department of Professional and Business Regulation (DBPR) were unproductive. Local police referred the condo association to SFPOC.

SFPOC’s retired detectives will reportedly investigate condo crimes for $1,750 to $2,500.

Sources:

Private company ventures into fraud investigation in South Florida condominiums English translation posted by CCFJ, from El Nuevo Herald

Original article in Spanish:

Empresa privada incursiona en investigación de fraude en condominios del sur de la Florida
POR ENRIQUE FLOR
19 DE MARZO DE 2019 04:57 PM, ACTUALIZADO 19 DE MARZO DE 2019 07:24 PM

 

 

(Pixabay.com free image)

 

Orange County Police Blotter reports theft from 2 HOA bank accounts (OH)

Landerwood Glen Homeowner Association discovered two large unauthorized withdrawals from its checking account and money market account at Key Bank. The bank and local police are investigating the incident and the association’s management company.

Homeowners’ Association missing more than $30,000 from bank accounts: Orange Police Blotter (cleveland.com)
Updated Apr 12, 11:11 AM; Posted Apr 11, 2019

 

Former HOA Treasurer enters guilty plea on wire fraud charges (IA)

A former HOA treasurer, Wayne P. Jones Jr., 55, admitted to wire fraud, which he used to transfer more than $120,000 of the HOA’s money to his personal bank account, to pay his mortgage and credit card balances.

Jones is also the owner of a garden and landscape business in Marion, Dream Designs of Iowa and DDI LLC. He reportedly admitted to falsifying treasurer’s reports to cover up his crime, which took place over five years.

A civil court judge awarded $274,665 to the condo association in 2017.

On criminal charges, Jones could serve up to 20 years in prison, and $250,000 in fines, plus restitution.

Source:

Marion man convicted in $120K embezzlement scheme
Scheme to defraud homeowners association lasted five years The Gazette | April 9, 2019 (IA)

 

Condo Treasurer uses false identity to “borrow” money from association, then skips town (FL)

A condo association Treasurer, who lived in an apartment at Crystal Court Manor, and went by the alias of “Tracy Pierson,” allegedly used the HOA’s bank card to steal $50,000 last year.

A former condo board member found out about the missing funds when the water utility threatened a shut down, due to non-payment. When Pierson was confronted, according to reports, she tried to bargain with the Association to avoid criminal charges. Then she disappeared.

Hollywood Police are currently searching for the woman and investigating the crime. They strongly urge all condo association boards to complete a thorough background check on anyone who might have access to HOA money.

Source:

She used a fake name to bilk $50,000 from condo association, cops say. Then she vanished. BY CARLI TEPROFF, Miami Herald | APRIL 04, 2019 08:19 PM, UPDATED APRIL 04, 2019 08:35 PM (FL)

 

Former Treasurer repays HOA, but still gets 2 months in jail (NE)

An alert homeowner and CPA, Les Robbins, suspected something was wrong with the books and records at Armbrust Homeowners Association. He later discovered that David Campagna embezzled $174,000 during his 8-year stint as HOA Treasurer.

According to reports, Campagna pocketed the Association’s liability insurance policy money and used it to pay his business expenses. Campagna admitted embezzling funds, and, on the day of his sentencing, chastised the HOA board for not settling the matter in private.

The former Treasurer repaid the full balance of money stolen at his hearing, but the Judge still ordered 56 days in jail, and 5 years probation.

Now that Campagna has moved to Florida, his neighbors in the Sunshine State had better beware of his felony conviction, before considering him as an HOA board candidate. ♦

Source:

Neighbor who embezzled thousands faces consequences in court
By Mike McKnight | WOWT
Posted: Tue 9:40 PM, Mar 26, 2019  |
Updated: Tue 10:51 PM, Mar 26, 2019