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

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities

 

This month: several reports of former HOA employees and treasurers charged and/or convicted in various theft, fraud, and embezzlement schemes. The FBI raids the home of local politician and CEO of a neighborhood association. Shootout erupts as homeowners fight against illegitimate HOA.

Former HOA manager, maintenance worker arrested on theft charges

Joseph Maselli, a former maintenance worker at 3360 Condominium Association in Palm Beach, Florida, admitted to double-billing the HOA for 18-months. Investigators say Maselli was overpaid more than $17,000 in the fraudulent billing scheme. In July, Maselli was released from jail after posting $3,000 bail.

In Gilbert, Arizona, local police arrested, Aimee Risher Lentz, 47. The former employee is charged with theft and fraudulent use of a credit card, exceeding $10,000. Homeowners  of Power Ranch also accuse Lentz of stealing HOA fees they paid in cash.

Sources:

Police: Condo worker defrauds condo association for over $17,000 (FL)
By Wendy Rhodes, Palm Beach Daily News
Posted Aug 8, 2019 at 1:51 PM

PD: Woman charged for allegedly embezzling over $10,000 from Gilbert HOA (AZ)
Posted: 6:52 PM, Aug 25, 2019
Updated: 9:52 PM, Aug 25, 2019
By Joe Enea | ABC15


Former HOA board members arrested, convicted of embezzlement and fraud

Morgan County, WV prosecutor’s office recently sentenced April Spinks to 4 months in prison with work release, plus 5 years probation. Spinks was convicted of stealing more than $7,000 from the New Hope Acres Property Owners Association near Berkeley Springs, and ordered to pay $1,053 in restitution to the community association.

The thefts occurred when Spinks served as HOA treasurer. At the time, homeowners were unaware that, in 2016, Spinks had pleaded guilty to theft from the Root Hall Cafe at Carlisle Barracks in Pennsylvania. She is currently serving probation on those federal charges.

Susan Trawick, the former treasurer of Hidden Lakes Homeowners Association has been arrested for theft of more than $16,000 from the community. Following her arrest, Trawick has been placed on administrative leave from her position as executive director for the Dothan-Houston County Substance Abuse Partnership.

The local nonprofit organization now plans to conduct their own internal investigation.

Rachelle Hawks, 41, surrendered to local police earlier this month, following an investigation into $12,000 of missing money from a Baldwin County (Alabama) HOA, where Hawks previously served as HOA treasurer.

 

Sources:

Woman who stole from Carlisle Barracks ordered to prison for more thefts in West Virginia (WV and PA)
Updated Aug 19, 2019; Posted Aug 19, 2019
By Matt Miller | mmiller@pennlive.com

Dothan non-profit director under investigation for alleged theft of $16K in HOA funds (AL)
by: Nathaniel Rodriguez, WDHN
Posted: Aug 22, 2019 / 11:37 AM CDT/ Updated: Aug 22, 2019 / 11:41 AM CDT

Baldwin County woman accused of stealing $12,000 from HOA (AL)
Updated Aug 14, 3:41 PM;Posted Aug 14, 2:58 PM
By Christopher Harress | charress@al.com

 


 

FBI raids home of Augusta City Commissioner, neighborhood association CEO

Earlier this month, the FBI raided the home of Augusta Commissioner Sammie Sias, who is also the current CEO of the Jamestown Community Center.

Jamestown is funded by the Sandridge Community Association, formed in 1992. Sandridge is one of 50 neighborhood associations in Augusta, Georgia. The details of the FBI investigation are unknown at this time.

The city of Augusta funnels public funds through Sandridge to cover the cost of improvements to the Jamestown Community Center.

Source:

Little know about Sias’ Sandridge Association (GA)
By Susan McCord | Augusta Chronicle
Posted Aug 10, 2019 at 5:48 PMUpdated Aug 10, 2019 at 9:13 PM


 

Violence erupts in dispute over legitimacy of HOA (TX)

The city of Lancaster says it established a PID (Public Improvement District) in 2007 as an alternative to an HOA in the Pleasant Run Estates neighborhood. Taxes are assessed by the PID to pay for neighborhood services, so there’s no need for a homeowners’ association.

But a few homeowners decided to reactivate the HOA anyway. According to reports, the HOA was resurrected without a vote of homeowners.

Some homeowners say self-appointed HOA President, Anthony Tucker, has hired his wife Belinda’s management company to collect past due HOA fees from homeowners. According to local reports, the Pleasant Run Estates HOA has placed liens on several homes for nonpayment of HOA assessments.

Several homeowners have filed fraud complaints against the self-proclaimed HOA President and his wife’s management company.

The tension is so high in Pleasant Run Estates that, recently, a gun fight erupted between homeowner Kenneth Haggerty and Anthony Tucker.

Haggerty was arrested for stopping Belinda Tucker’s vehicle and shooting her. The woman sustained a bullet wound to her hand while shielding her head from Haggerty’s gunfire.

Hearing the scuffle, Anthony Tucker reportedly grabbed his pistol, and fired shots back at Haggerty in defense of his wife. No charges have been filed against Tucker.

The Tuckers say Haggerty is disgruntled because the HOA filed a lien against his home.

Source:

Homeowner shoots wife of HOA president over unpaid dues, police say (TX)
The woman, identified by police as Belinda Tucker, survived the shooting and was released from a Dallas hospital Sunday night. (Texas)

Author: Matt Howerton
Published: 6:55 PM CDT August 5, 2019
Updated: 6:14 AM CDT August 6, 2019 ♦