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Directors charged with fraud
When the big or small, theft can exist at HOAs and condos from coast to coast and throughout the land.
association president, 82, arrested on embezzlement charges in West
The Palm Beach Post
|By Aleese Kopf—Staff writer
11 July 2014
A former condominium association president was arrested Thursday and
charged with allegedly embezzling about $22,500 in association funds to
pay for a long-distance affair.
Representatives of the Norwich K Condominium Association reported
former President and Treasurer Alan Kaplan, 82, of West Palm Beach, to
police after an audit of the association’s bank accounts, according to
the police report.
After searching the association’s accounts and Kaplan’s personal
accounts, a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s officer discovered that Kaplan
is alleged to have stolen $22,580 from 2011 to 2013.
needed the money to supplement his
income and finance an affair with his New York lover
Kaplan told police he was in debt and needed the money to supplement
his income and finance an affair with his New York lover, the report
He was charged with grand theft and booked into the Palm Beach County
Jail Thursday night. He was released Friday afternoon after posting
Aire treasurer indicted for allegedly pilfering $81K from condo fund
Rockwood County Times New York
Posted 03 June 2014
Former Bon Aire Condominium One Complex Treasurer Kostantina Gardner,
25 Haskell Avenue, Suffern, 51-years-old, has been indicted by a
Rockland County Grand Jury for grand larceny in the second degree.
District Attorney Thomas Zugibe alleges she suctioned $81K from
condominium coffers into her own purse between January 1, 2008 and May
1, 2013 while serving as treasurer. Zugibe said the defendant wrote
various checks without permission or authority to herself and deposited
same into her personal bank accounts.
Longtime Condo One Board President Clifford Albertson spoke to the
Rockland County Times about what led to the scandal and indictment.
Albertson said, “It was a case where you place your trust in a person
and it turns out the trust was very much misplaced.”
Many of the checks were pre-signed
The board-representative of 48 units-had bylaws in place requiring two
signatures on all checks, but in practice many of the checks were
pre-signed by Albertson or the vice president, he told the Rockland
County Times. Albertson said the board has now changed its policy so
that one person writes checks and brings it to two others to sign,
involving a total of three persons in the transaction and greatly
lessening the likelihood of fraud.
Gardner had also taken out an ATM card from the condo’s account that
board members did not know about and she would withdraw funds when she
felt like it, the board president told the Rockland County Times.
Albertson said he is puzzled why auditors the board hired to make sure
their books were following proper order failed to find any of Gardner’s
alleged abuses. Albertson said the condo’s new auditors are inspecting
the practices of the previous regime of auditors.
“Usually when this happens something funny is going on”
About one year ago Albertson was contacted by the Village of Suffern
treasurer and told his condo board was behind over $55K on their water
bills. Albertson was befuddled and told the village treasurer, “I don’t
understand how this could possibly be,” to which the village treasurer
replied, “usually when this happens something funny is going on,”
The situation has been known to the district attorney since then and
has been kept out of the public eye while authorities worked on their
Albertson worked with the district attorney, pulling up all bank
records from the past eight years and establishing that at least $81K
in fraud had occurred in the five+ year window from January 2008 to May
The actual amount of fraud most likely is higher and goes back further,
he said, but the district attorney focused in on that time span and
came to that amount that he could prove in court. Chase Bank was very
helpful in bringing up all bank records, Albertson noted.
The neighborhood was shocked to hear the news of Gardner’s alleged
fraud according to Albertson. ”She was well-liked by everybody. At
annual meetings, everyone was thanking her for what a good job she
did,” he said.
The condo board’s budget is around $180,000 and the treasurer is the
main officer in charge of running the board’s financial operations. The
other officers are volunteers who donate time at monthly board meetings
mainly to make sure unit owners’ needs are addressed, but the treasurer
takes a salary and directly manages the finances of the condo.
Asked if he had regrets that he did not pick up on the problem, the
12-year veteran president of the condo board said, “Hindsight is
perfect, but we had no indications. We had monthly reports at monthly
board meetings that showed everything was being paid. There was
nothing that gave us any indication that anything funny was going on.”
The overdue water bills were going to a PO Box that Gardner solely
controlled and Albertson believes she was destroying those bills. How
could a treasurer allow unpaid bills to pile up over $50K and expect to
get away with it?
“I don’t know what was driving her, I can’t get into her head, what it
was. Probably the same thing every other person who was doing
what she was doing; they just figured they would never get caught,”
Albertson said, recalling that in the 1980s a treasurer from his church
absconded well over six figure and high-tailed it to Arizona. He
was eventually found and brought to justice.
What lessons have been learned?
We didn’t look at the bank statements. She
was discarding them.
Albertson said, “Well, it’s just we have to exercise more oversight
over the affairs of what’s going on – we didn’t look at the bank
statements. She was discarding them. We now have a Finance Committee to
periodically review everything that’s going on.”
“Having an outside organization run the finances is an option,” he
noted, “but that doesn’t mean they won’t do anything [like what Gardner
Before this year’s controversy, the going-ons of the Bon Aire One Board
have not been the subject of much controversy or interest. Albertson
reported that the board has had a hard time even bringing out a quorum
to their annual meeting in recent years.
That problem will have passed with this controversy, for a while.
Asked what has drawn him to a leadership post on a condo board for over
a decade, Albertson said, “I’m just one of those people who donates
He has been a trustee for many community organizations and his church
for many years and continues to serve in that capacity, he said.
The arrest of treasurers ... has been repeated several
times around Rockland County in the past five years
The arrest of treasurers of small quasi-public boards such as in the
Little League and in condominium associations has been repeated several
times around Rockland County in the past five years. Is now the time
for all such associations to consider reforming their practices so that
an unscrupulous person cannot defraud them?
president guilty of mail fraud
By Kyle Stucker
24 June 2014
HAMPTON — A former Hampton Beach condominium president pleaded guilty
Friday in U.S. District Court in Concord to one count of mail fraud for
allegedly embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from his condo
The federal suit alleges that Anthony Gringeri stole $184,712.11 from
his fellow residents at the Surfside 30 condominiums as well as the
building's Exeter-based property management company "for his personal
benefit" from 2008 to 2012.
Gringeri, age not available, allegedly concealed fraudulent withdrawals
against multiple credit lines — including a line he wasn't authorized
to open — as well as forged condo board members' signatures and cashed
reimbursement checks for numerous fake invoices for Surfside 30 repairs
that never occurred, according to paperwork filed at the court earlier
The mail fraud charge stems from the fact that Gringeri "knowingly and
willfully devised and intended to devise a scheme and artifice to
obtain money by means of false and fraudulent pretenses,
representations and promises" and utilized U.S. Postal Service
deliveries to execute that scheme, according to the suit.
Ex-treasurer accused of stealing $87,000 from Torrington
The Register Citizen Connecticut
By Esteban L. Hernandez
TORRINGTON: A former president and treasurer of a local homeowner’s
association is facing felony larceny charges after the organization
said he stole more than $85,000 from their bank account.
Roger Okenquist, 52, of 683 Heron Rd., Torrington, was arrested on
Sept. 30 by Torrington police and charged with first-degree larceny
after members of the Arbor Ridge Homeowner Association noticed
$87,016.81 missing from their bank account last year. Police said he
was making withdrawals and writing checks to himself, his company, his
wife and his two children.
A police report was first filed in October 2013 by former association
president Robert Davis, days after Okenquist resigned from his position
as treasurer. Okenquist had also previously served as president of the
Okenquist was in charge of the association’s bank accounts at
Torrington Savings Bank. He declined to speak to Davis about the
missing funds, as advised by his lawyer, in October 2013. Initially
represented by attorney Jonathan Meter, the association hired a new
attorney, Edward Hill, who started communication with Okenquist’s
attorney, John Laudati, last fall in an attempt to resolve the conflict.
After receiving seven years worth of financial documents from the
association, current association president Margaret McGillicuddy asked
for an investigation to be reponed in July of this year.
According to an arrest affidavit filed by the Torrington Police
Detective Bureau, Okenquist made a promissory note that he would pay
back $40,000 of the missing money to the association and the insurance
company, which had paid out $50,000 to the association. He started
making payments of $1,000 per month in July. The affidavit says
Okenquist still owes $42,001.90.
Between September 2006 through September 2013, Okenquist signed 524
checks worth $64,991.81 from the association’s checking account. None
of checks were approved by the board, which is their policy, and no
supporting documents were filed, according to the affidavit.
Most of the checks—$39,130.50—Okenquist made out to himself. Other
checks were made out to his wife—$2,252.43—and to two of Okenquist’s
children; $3,707.65 for one, and $815 to another. Checks were also made
out to a landscaping business, R&M landscaping, owned by Okenquist.
The company never did any work for the association, according to the
This information was forwarded to Okenquist’s attorney in a letter sent
by the association’s attorney in January.
Hill, the association’s attorney, also informed Laudati, Okenquist’s
attorney, that his client had made 22 withdrawals from the
association’s savings account totalling $22,025 between September 2012
to September 2013. Again, there were no supporting documents or
approval from the association for the withdrawals, according to the
“It was believed the cash withdrawal was used for Okenquist’s own
personal use since there was no evidence that indicated the funds
represented by those withdrawals were used for any proper association
purposes,” the investigating officer wrote in the affidavit.
Police said the statute of limitations for a portion of the $87,016.81
stolen between 2006 and 2009—$5,014.91—has expired, so charges cannot
be filed for that amount.
Hill attempted to meet with Laudati to review the checks, though
Laudati said Okenquist had gone through the printed checks and was
reviewing electronic ones. Following the association’s wishes, Hill
submitted an insurance claim on Feb. 20 to the Hartford Insurance
Company for $87,016.81; the company paid out a policy maximum of
Four days later, Hills received an email from Hill informing him that
Okenquist had agreed to pay $40,000, which would reimburse the
association $23,000 and the insurance company $17,000. Okenquist took a
third mortgage on his home to complete the settlement. Homeowners were
first made aware of the possible theft five days after Okenquist’s
resignation. Davis sent out a letter to homeowners informing them that
the association’s executive board had found evidence suggesting
Okenquist, was inappropriately managing association funds within his
Arbor Ridge is a non-stock corporation where member homeowners pay dues
for road repairs and other services; the association also pay city
Current association treasurer Nicole Downes said the money stolen was
earmarked for road repairs, because roads had been poorly constructed
by the previous builder. The association was able to obtain a loan once
Downes took charge of the association’s money, helping fix the roads.
The association has become whole again, Downes said.
Downes was part of an overhaul of the association’s executive board
after prior board members resigned in November.
“The new board has spent hundreds upon hundreds of hours to pick up the
pieces left by the prior boards,” Downes said. “The morale within the
neighborhood was low until the new executive board starting making
great progress to bring out community back to what it was meant to be,
a great place to live.”
Okenquist posted a $20,000 surety bond and is scheduled to be arraigned
at Bantam Superior Court on Oct. 14.
New Rochelle Man Charged with Stealing $39,000 from Local Homeowner’s Assocation
Talk of the Sound
11 January 2016
NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Salvatore Franciamore, 35, of New Rochelle, NY was
charged last Monday with Grand Larceny—Third Degree by the Westchester
County District Attorney following an investigation by New Rochelle
Police into a complaint of funds missing from a homeowner’ association
Franciamore was the President of the WestEnd2000 Home Owners
Association, an association organized for the purposes of paying
insurance, development and maintenance costs for the Town Houses at
Members of the homeowner's assocation are upset.
"This Franciamore wiped us out," said one of the association homeowners
who asked not to be identified. "He has put all 24 homeowners in a bad
position, we don't even have insurance right now for the development or
maintenance. We are all broke."
Marlene Valenzuela of Atax Tax Service told Talk of the Sound that her
company was responsible to prepare and send bills, collect checks, and
make deposits for the homeowners assocation - but not to issue
switched to a single-signer account
“In March 2015, the association switched banks from HSBC where there
was a two-signer account to Chase bank where there was a single-signer
account,” said Valenzuela. After the switch, bank statements were no
longer sent to Atax Tax Service, she added.
On December 16, 2015, the homeowner’s association convened an emergency
meeting at the activity room in nearby Garito Manor to notify
homeowners that almost $40,000 in homeowner dues was missing.
Joe Renda, a local firefighter and Vice President of the homeowner’s association took control of the assocation at the meeting.
In a 1999 article in the New York Times, the development, then known as
West End 2000, was described as “a $30 million development on a
four-acre site bounded by Union Avenue, First Street, Jones Street and
Second Street in the western section of New Rochelle”.
It didn't take long for the money to
disappear. Changing to a single-signature bank account and stopping
sneding the bank statements to the bookkeeping service where warning
signs that should not have been ignored by the board.
Stamford cops: Ex-condo president embezzled nearly $10,000
By John Nickerson
04 February 2016
A former East Side condominium association president was arrested
Tuesday for allegedly embezzling nearly $10,000 after she left office
with $15 in the association’s accounts, lapsed insurance and an unpaid
Jaime Lipsher, 47, of Park Street, Stamford, was charged with
second-degree larceny and released after posting a $10,000 court
Last October, the new Ocean Park Condos president told police that
Lipsher allegedly drained the accounts and left the association’s other
four condo owners in the red, according to her four-page arrest
Investigator Michael Stempien got a search warrant for the
association’s accounts and discovered that despite the other condo
owners paying $170 per month, they were left with $15.18 when Lipsher
turned over the books around the beginning of September.
Stempien discovered that most times after the other condo owners made
their monthly payments, Lipsher, a self-employed medical massage
therapist, withdrew a portion or all of the money.
A little more than four months into her presidency in October 2014,
Lipsher withdrew $2,100 in cash from the account, the arrest affidavit
a Caribbean vacation
The members said while no work had been done on the condos at that time
and there appeared to be no legitimate reason for the withdrawal, one
member recalled Lipsher taking a Caribbean vacation around the same
time, the arrest affadavit said.
The last cash withdrawal of $900 — caught on surveillance tape at
People’s United Bank — occurred last August, just before the other
owners demanded to see the books. All the suspicious withdrawals
totaled $9,550, the arrest affidavit said.
When Stempien called Lipsher at the end of December, she accused some
of the other members of not paying their monthly dues. But Stempien had
the books in front of him and told her she was mistaken.
When Stempien asked why she made cash withdrawals every few weeks,
Lipsher said she had to pay maintenance on the condos, along with
paying for garbage removal and recycling.
When Stempien said the city paid for the garbage and recycling, Lipsher became increasingly agitated.
It was a small five unit condo, and
the money involved was small, yet the owners should have had a two
signature policy on all cheques.—editor
Hickory Woman Accused of Embezzling from Homeowners' Association
15 February 2016
|56-year-old Kim Elaine Lofton of 12th Street Drive N.W. in Hickory was
served a true bill of indictment by Hickory Police at about 5:40 Friday
afternoon (February 12) on one felony count of embezzlement.
The charge dates back to July of 2014 when representatives of the Manor
House condominiums on 12th Street Drive N.W. reported issues with the
president of their homeowners’ association. The reporting parties
believed that homeowner’s fees were unaccounted for. An audit showed a
shortage of $140,000. The losses occurred from the time Lofton
initially served as president in 2008 until the alleged embezzlement
was reported in 2014.
The information was turned over to the District Attorney’s office,
leading to Lofton’s arrest Friday. She was processed at H.P.D.
headquarters and then released less than an hour later under a $4,000
unsecured bond. A first appearance in District Court was set for today
(February 15) in Newton.
No jail for Severn condo president who stole $70,000
11 July 2014
By BRANDI BOTTALICO
The former president of a Severn condominium association was sentenced
Thursday to community service after admitting she stole more than
$70,000 from the group for restaurants, hair salons and phone bills.
pay back $25 a month?
Circuit Court Judge Michele D. Jaklitsch sentenced Wanda Brooks to five
years of probation and ordered her to pay restitution in monthly $25
payments as well as serve 100 hours of community service. The judge
also suspended a six month incarceration sentence against Brooks that
she won't ever see unless she violates her probation.
Brooks pleaded guilty to one count of felony theft in an agreement with
prosecutors that avoided jail time and dropped an embezzlement charge.
She faced as much as 15 years in prison.
"All I can say is it's an embarrassment," Brooks told the judge during
the hearing in Annapolis. "I made some bad choices, a lot of mistakes
and I'm sorry."
Brooks pleaded guilty to charging $73,943 on a Still Meadows
Condominium Association credit card between August 2002 and July 2009
while she was president of the association. Charges were made at
restaurants including Red Lobster, Outback Steakhouse, Damon's Grill
and a restaurant in Indiana.
She also charged visits to hair salons, phone services, gas station
purchases and an electric bill payment from an address in North
Carolina, according to a statement of charges presented by prosecutors.
Assistant State's Attorney Michael Cogan said Brooks owned property in
North Carolina, citing several other charges in the state.
"We saw no repayments to the account," he said. "These transactions
were not in the best interest of the homeowners association."
Cogan encouraged Jaklitsch to sentence Brooks at the very least to
community service, knowing incarceration and full repayment unlikely,
citing poverty and illness.
Her primary income is a $720 monthly disability check. She suffers from
degenerative disk disease, Type 2 diabetes, hyperthyroidism, sleep
apnea and depression, said County Councilman Daryl Jones, Brooks'
Jones, whose district includes the Still Meadows condos, said he has
known her for years and told the judge she remains an asset to the
community who still is held in high esteem by her neighbors.
"When she finds herself now, your honor, trying to explain what
happened she is without words," Jones said. "She has never felt as
deeply troubled as she does now."
No one from the association spoke during the hearing.
Brooks left the courtroom using a four-wheeled walker for support,
surrounded by her family. Despite the plea, she said the restaurant
charges were for association business and that details of some of the
charges were wrong.
"I've never been to Indiana in my life," she said. "I don't have property in North Carolina."
She chose to plead guilty because a trial would have postponed planned back surgery.
"I'm not going to put myself through that," she said.
Severn is a prosperous area, with a fair amount of upper middle class
families but the Still Meadows area had been a challenging portion of
Severn for several years, Jones said.
Brooks left behind unpaid bills and a neglected complex
Jessica Langley served on the condo board after Brooks. She said Brooks
left behind unpaid bills and a neglected complex when her tenure ended.
Volunteer board members not only help maintain the grounds but spent
time building a case against Brooks, said Langley, who has since moved
from the community.
She said the money taken from the association was generated by monthly condo fees ranging from $100 to $150.
"To actually recover fully (the association) needs another five years," Langley said.
Pewaukee condo association treasurer charged with embezzlement
06 July 2015
WAUKESHA, WI (WTAQ) - A treasurer for a condo association in Pewaukee allegedly stole $25,000 from that group.
48-year-old Lorene Luney-Treml of Sussex is due in Waukesha County Circuit Court July 20th on two felony embezzlement charges.
Prosecutors said two members of the Meadow Valley condo association
reported the alleged thefts to police, after she apparently said no to
providing money for landscape work at a complex that's part of the
Meadow Valley group.
Sussex woman reportedly stole thousands as condo association treasurer
Lake Country Now
By Steven Martinez
06 July 2015
Village of Pewaukee — A 48-year-old Sussex woman reportedly stole more
than $25,000 while serving as treasurer for a local condominium
association, a criminal complaint says.
Court records show that Lorene Lutey Treml — who was charged July 1 in
Waukesha County Circuit Court with two counts of theft in a business
setting exceeding $10,000 — allegedly stole the money over a period of
20 months, beginning in October 2013.
Two members of the Meadow Valley Condominium Association reported the
thefts to police in May after Treml refused to provide money for
landscaping projects at the Westfield Way Condominiums, which is
represented by Meadow Valley.
A criminal complaint says that Heather Trutman, Meadow Valley's current
treasurer, contacted two banks where the condominium association keeps
its money and discovered that both accounts, which each contained about
$14,000, had been mostly drained.
Bank statements and canceled checks from both banks, one a Waukesha
State Bank and the other a North Shore Bank, revealed that Treml
withdrew thousands in cash from both accounts and wrote out personal
checks using more than $16,000 of the condominium association's money,
according to the complaint.
The total amount she's accused of stealing is $25,318.31.
Treml reportedly told Melissa Stadler, Meadow Valley's president, that
she was going to pay back the money after admitting to committing some
of the thefts, the complaint says.
However, according to the complaint, every time the condominium
association has attempted to meet with Treml to discuss the thefts
she's had a personal excuse to miss the meeting.
Online court records indicate that Treml is scheduled to make her
initial court appearance on July 20. If convicted, she could face up to
20 years in prison and $50,000 in fines.
Former treasurer admits embezzling
Chino Hills, California
26 December 2015
A former treasurer of Summit Ranch Homeowners Association in Chino
Hills pleaded guilty as part of a plea bargain Dec. 17 to one felony
count of grand theft after she was accused of embezzling $128,792 from
the association between 2013 and 2014.
Julie Calderon is facing up to a year in a jail when she is sentenced Friday, Jan. 22, according to court records.
As part of the plea agreement, she will pay full restitution to the homeowners association.
A felony charge of embezzlement will be dropped at sentencing, court records show.
Suspected embezzler in court
25 July 2015
A former treasurer of the Carbon Canyon 1 Homeowners Association in
Chino Hills, California charged with two felony counts of embezzlement
is scheduled for a pre-preliminary hearing Tuesday, Aug. 25, in Rancho
Cucamonga Superior Court.
According to a criminal complaint filed by the San Bernardino County
District Attorney’s office, Julie Calderon of Chino Hills is accused of
embezzling $128,792 from the homeowner’s association between 2013 and
2014. She is charged with one count of grand theft by embezzlement and
a count of embezzlement by a public or private officer.
Mrs. Calderon has pleaded not guilty, and is not in custody.
Ex-President stole $366K from Homeowners Association he oversaw
By Nicholas Rizzi
20 May 2016
ROSSVILLE — The former president of a Staten Island homeowners
association was indicted Wednesday after embezzling $366,380 from the
group, District Attorney Michael McMahon announced.
Danny Juliano, 50, was hit with the nine-count indictment after
siphoning funds from the Woodbrooke Estates Homeowners Association
Inc., a group of Rossville homes where Juliano lives, for nearly four
years, McMahon said.
"The crimes alleged undermine the trust and neighborhood fabric that
defines a lot of what makes Staten Island great," McMahon said in a
"Theft from a homeowners association not only impacts the neighbors
whose funds were taken and whose neighborhood suffers from loss of
upgrades and maintenance — but also all New York tax payers."
he had signature authority
From Oct. 1, 2011 to Feb. 6, 2015, Juliano allegedly made withdrawals
from the association's checking account without the authority of any
board members because he had signature authority over the account as
president, McMahon said.
Juliano lied to other members about his withdrawals — which ranged from
$10,8000 to $125,855 — claiming he was using the money to buy pool
supplies in New Jersey because prices were cheaper, but never provided
any documents, McMahon said.
never reported the cash as income
Juliano, who worked as a civilian employee for the NYPD's 123 Precinct, never reported the cash as income, McMahon said.
He was indicted on grand larceny, offering a false instrument for
filing and criminal tax fraud at his arraignment, according to the
Juliano pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released without bail
as long as he submits his passport by Friday, his lawyer, Mark Geisser
He's due back in court on June 30.
Homeowners' association prez admits to embezzling $300K; worked as civilian for NYPD
Staten Island Live.com
17 May 2017
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.
The defendant made numerous cash withdrawals from the association's
checking account without the approval of any board members, authorities
said. As president, Juliano had the authority to sign checks for the
When the association's board confronted Juliano about the missing
money, he said he had purchased pool supplies at lower prices in New
Jersey with the cash, according to authorities.
The defendant pleaded guilty in state Supreme Court, St. George, to
felony counts of second-degree grand larceny and criminal tax fraud.
With respect to the latter count, Juliano admitted to filing a false
state tax return for 2013 by underreporting at least $10,000.
His lawyer, Matthew Zuntag, told the court money allegedly stolen is
considered income, consequently, his client was charged with submitting
a false tax return with underreported income.
In exchange for his plea, Juliano will be sentenced Aug. 8 to five years' probation.
He must also shell out restitution of $300,000 - $200,000 of which must
be paid by the sentencing date, with the remaining $100,000 to be paid
over the course of his probation.
After Juliano was indicted in May of last year, District Attorney
Michael E. McMahon said the defendant's alleged crimes "undermine the
trust and neighborhood fabric that defines a lot of what makes Staten
"Theft from a homeowners' association not only impacts the neighbors
whose funds were taken and whose neighborhood suffers from loss of
upgrades and maintenance -- but also all New York tax payers," McMahon
The stocky defendant made no statement beyond admitting guilt at Wednesday's proceeding.
He replied to Justice Stephen J. Rooney's questions in a low voice, merely answering "Yes" or "No."
HOA bank statements show questionable withdrawals
Kris TV Corpus Christi Texas
By Bart Bedsole
15 February 2016
The attorney for a woman accused of using money from her neighborhood's
HOA account dollars for personal use encourages the neighbors not to
jump to conclusions.
Jo Ellen Hewins was hired by the woman and her husband after they
became the focus of a CCPD financial crimes investigation last week.
Homeowners in the Lakes Northwest subdivision along FM 1889 in Calallen
were told about the missing money at an emergency meeting last week.
At that meeting, they were allowed to submit their email address and be
sent a copy of the Homeowners Association's bank account statements
over the past year and a half.
KRIS 6 obtained those statements this week.
The statements show a balance of $58,607 dollars at the beginning of 2015, but only $1,130 dollars at the beginning of 2016.
According to the statements, more than $44,000 was paid to a credit
card company in 2015, and nearly $12,000 was paid to a Wells Fargo
mortgage account during the same time period.
As an HOA board member, the woman had access to the account.
There are also numerous checks written to her relatives, although those
could be legitimate expenses for things like mowing and landscaping.
A CCPD detective tells KRIS 6 that white collar financial crimes can take months to investigate.
Hewins declined to go into detail about the expenses listed in the
statements, but said there is a lot more to the story than neighbors
realized and recommended they be patient until all the records are made
Bridgeville Couple Arrested For Theft From Homeowners' Association
21 January 2016
Jessica and David McGinnis
BRIDGEVILLE, Del. - A Bridgeville couple has been arrested in connection with theft from a local homeowners' association.
Following a Department of Justice investigation, the Delaware DOJ says
33-year-old Jessica McGinnis and 50-year-old David McGinnis were
arrested and indicted by a grand jury.
According to the DOJ, unpaid bills to maintain the Morningside Village
community's sewage system led to the investigation. The DOJ says bank
records showed that money deposited into a fund for the system
maintenance was instead depleted by checks written to the McGinnises
Jessica McGinnis took over as secretary and treasurer of the
Morningside Village Homeowners’ Association in 2012, the DOJ said. She
and her husband each faces four counts of Second Degree Conspiracy and
Theft Greater than $1,500.
“This theft deprived an entire community of needed funds for
maintenance," Attorney General Matt Denn said after the indictment.
"This thorough investigation is proof that we take complaints about
homeowners’ associations and communities seriously, and will prosecute
those who abuse the trust of their neighbors."
Former HOA treasurer admits embezzling more than $100,000
The Kansas City Star
By Judy L. Thomas
The former treasurer of a Kansas City homeowners association pleaded
guilty Thursday to stealing more than $100,000 from her HOA over 2 1/2
Loretta A. Lock, 78, was charged in Clay County Circuit Court in
January with embezzling from the Charleston Harbor Homes Association.
Lock, a real estate agent, served as treasurer of the HOA from August
2007 to August 2015. According to a grand jury indictment, she stole
money from the homes association between February 2013 and July 2015.
Lock’s guilty plea comes three weeks after The Star published a series
that explored the explosive growth of homeowners associations and found
that HOAs wield far more power than homeowners realize, with some
actually tormenting the residents they’re supposed to support. HOA
boards are run by volunteers who often have little training, the series
found, and a lack of oversight over the industry can foster an
environment ripe for embezzlement.
The Charleston Harbor neighborhood at 71st Terrace and North Brighton
Avenue in Kansas City, North, has about 200 single-family homes.
HOA president Chaz Wood told The Star that the original agreement was
for Lock to plead guilty to a Class C felony and make full restitution
to the HOA. But on Tuesday, Wood and the HOA’s attorney said, the
Missouri Supreme Court issued a ruling in another case that effectively
allowed Lock’s crime to be classified as a Class A misdemeanor.
Lock, who has been out on $100,000 bond, will be sentenced on Oct. 21.
The maximum sentence she could receive is one year in prison and a
$1,000 fine. The HOA is recommending probation, restitution of $109,045
within 30 days of her sentencing and an order prohibiting her from
going to casinos while on probation.
the nine-member HOA board was replaced
The theft was discovered last summer after the nine-member HOA board
was replaced at the association’s annual elections. Wood said when he
and another newly elected board member went to the bank to add their
signatures to the HOA’s account, they learned someone had just
“We got suspicious and filed a report with the police,” he said. “We
think she was trying to repay the money for that year and lost track of
what she’d actually taken.”
numerous cash withdrawals from ATMs at area casinos
At her hearing, Lock admitted to writing 97 checks to herself on the
HOA account, ranging in amounts from $250 to $3,200. She also wrote
five checks to her husband — who was the HOA’s attorney at the time —
for what she described as legal services, but some of those checks had
been voided or stubs were missing. According to prosecutors, Lock also
made numerous cash withdrawals from ATMs at area casinos.
Missouri Real Estate Commission records show Lock has a current license
as a “broker salesperson” and is affiliated with Platinum Realty of
Her license expires June 30, 2018.
Her bio on a Platinum Realty website says she has been involved in real estate since 1970.
Honesty is the best policy!
“I have experience and knowledge of a wide variety of real estate
including HUD homes, commercial, farms and ranches, short sales,
residential etc.,” it says. “I also have experience as an auctioneer.
... I feel I stand out from other agents due to my vast knowledge and
experience. Honesty is the best policy!”
Nearly 20 Charleston Harbor residents attended Lock’s hearing Thursday.
Afterward, many were visibly angry at the plea deal. Lock still lives
in Charleston Harbor.
“I know everybody would like to have seen the felony conviction stand,”
Wood told them as they gathered outside the courtroom. “But that was
beyond our control.”
He said he realized some were upset that the HOA recommended probation instead of jail time for Lock.
do we want blood or do we want restitution
“But do we want blood or do we want restitution?” he said. “Our main
goal was to get back the money that she stole and do what’s best for
Wood said that although the HOA’s governing documents require outside
audits of the financial records, the previous boards hadn’t had any
done in years in an effort to save money. That, he said, will change.
“We had our audits done this year and had our CPA go back and balance
the books through 2009,” he said. “We’ve worked our tails off to build
back the trust and turn things around.”
Nila Ridings, an HOA reform advocate from Overland Park who attended
the hearing, said the outcome of Lock’s hearing was a huge
HOAs are a thieves’ paradise
“This case is further proof of what I’ve said for years,” Ridings said.
“HOAs are a thieves’ paradise. Stealing over $100,000 from your
neighbors carries such a minute penalty it’s almost as rewarding as
hitting the jackpot at the casino.”
Woman sentenced for embezzling from condo association
Grand Haven Tribune
21 Oct 2016
Judge Jon Hulsing sentenced Janice Marie Dykstra of Allendale to 18 months probation and 80 hours of community service.
She previously pleaded guilty to embezzling between $1,000 and $20,000
in exchange for a charge of embezzlement agent over $20,000 to be
treasurer of her association
Dykstra embezzled more than $10,000 from a condominium complex in
Allendale, while she was treasurer of her association, over a couple
year period, said Ottawa County Sheriff’s Capt. Mark Bennett.
Hulsing noted that a balance of $5,200 was still owed on the restitution and that Dykstra was on a payment plan.
Attorney Daniel Fagan told the judge when the problem came to light,
that his client “immediately went and began to make things correct.”
“It’s very humbling,” Dykstra told the judge. “I’m truly sorry.”
Elderly Rockford man charged with stealing homeowner association funds
By Jeff Kolkey
08 November 2016
Frank O. Tartaglia
Rockford Illinois — An 82-year-old Rockford man was arrested Monday on
charges of stealing from the homeowner's association at Thatcher Blake
Riverwalk Condos located in the 2400 block of South of Main Street.
Frank O. Tartaglia, a former resident of the condos with a view of the
Rock River in southwest Rockford, was charged with one count of theft
of more than $10,000 but less than $100,000. He also was charged with a
second count of theft of more than $500.
Both are felonies, but conviction on the more serious charge could mean
three to seven years in prison, according to Winnebago County court
Tartaglia served as treasurer for the association and is suspected of
stealing money periodically since Sept. 1, 2013. The total theft was
estimated at $22,000, Rockford Police Department Lt. Kurt Wisenand said.
Tartaglia posted $300 to bail out of the Winnebago County Jail after
turning himself into authorities on a warrant for his arrest.
No lawyer was listed in court records for Tartaglia and attempts to reach him by phone were not successful.
Thatcher Blake Association President Starker White said the board filed
a police report in September after it discovered money was missing from
its accounts. A landscaper wasn't paid and there was no money to pay
him. White said the association going through three years of records in
an effort to figure out precisely how much money was stolen.
The association also is establishing new financial safeguards, such as
requiring two signatures for each check and increasing oversight.
"We are in a triage state," White said. "We stopped the bleeding and now the owners are getting together and reorganizing."
During an interview last year with the Register Star about the Thatcher
Blake condominiums, Tartaglia said he was living there when the
previous owner lost the complex during a 2008 foreclosure suit. Sixteen
of a planned 63 units were built before the $19 million project — once
believed to be a key to revitalizing the South Main Street corridor
along the river — fizzled amid the housing crisis and Great Recession.
The development was kick-started when Rockford-based Infinity Assets
bought 10 vacant units in December 2013, renting them out for $1,000 to
$1,100 a month.
White said there are six owners who live in the raised ranch or townhouse units; the rest have been rented and are occupied.
"I think it's really finally coming together," White said. "This was a
setback, but I think we have overcome it and are moving forward."
Lawsuit filed against former Lakes Northwest HOA board member
By Jane Caffrey
14 November 2016
Earlier this year, KRIS 6 News told you about an investigation that
found an estimated $61,000 missing from the Lakes Northwest Homeowners
Association account. Now there is a civil lawsuit against the woman who
was president of that HOA at the time.
The lawsuit is filed on behalf of the HOA and their insurance company
against Jessica Plimper. It claims Plimper took $85,000 from the
The lawsuit reads: "Unfortunately, it appears greed got the better of
Plimper, as she used her Board position and check writing authority to
misappropriate nearly $85,000 for her personal use."
The suit alleges Plimper made unauthorized cash withdrawals, wrote unauthorized checks, and used the funds to pay her mortgage.
According to the HOA's bank statements previously obtained by KRIS 6
News, nearly $12,000 was paid to a Wells Fargo mortgage account in
2015, at the same time more than $44,000 was paid to a credit card
The civil lawsuit seeks up to $100,000 in damages.
Plimper had no comment for KRIS 6 News, and her attorney did not return
requests for comment. Plimper has until November 28th to answer the
A criminal case against Plimper is pending. Police have turned over the
results of their investigation to the District Attorney's Office.
Plimper is accused of theft-embezzlement.
Woman charged with felony theft
21 November 2016
HOT SPRINGS — A Hot Springs woman is charged with a felony after being
accused of transferring nearly $30,000 in funds to her private bank
account while serving as treasurer of a property owner’s association.
Sara Delaine McQuilliams, 68, who lists a Belvedere Drive address, was
taken into custody around 9 a.m. Thursday and charged with theft of
property, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. She later
was released on $5,000 bond.
According to an affidavit, the president of the Belvedere Property
Owners Association filed a report June 15 with Hot Springs police
accusing Mc-Quilliams of stealing several thousand dollars from the
organization’s bank account.
The president said Mc-Quilliams was appointed treasurer in February
2015. Officers were told she began fraudulently transferring money from
the organization’s account to her personal bank account.
McQuilliams’ bank statements from February 2015 to May 2016 showed
$29,160 had been transferred from the association’s account to her
personal account, according to the affidavit.
The president said “under no circumstances” was McQuilliams allowed to
transfer money from the group’s account to her own account. The
president also provided an audio recording in which McQuilliams can
reportedly be heard admitting to stealing the money, according to the
Sleazy treasurer left Westchester Trump Tower a financial mess: suit
New York Post
By Kaja Whitehouse
30 November 2016
Photo: Tomas E. Gaston
The other Trump Tower — in White Plains — is in financial trouble after
the condominium discovered its longtime treasurer had been allegedly
stealing cash for years, according to a lawsuit filing.
used the condo’s funds as his own personal “piggy bank”
Frank Palazzolo, a real estate investor who was named one of the city’s
10 worst landlords by a former city housing commissioner, used the
condo’s funds as his own personal “piggy bank” and covered his tracks
with fake account statements, according to a suit brought by the condo
board on Monday.
The alleged theft, which the condo estimates at $1.3 million, has left
the Westchester Trump Tower “in a precarious financial position —
unable to pay for basic services and exposed to significant litigation
risk,” said the Manhattan federal court filing.
Neither Palazzolo nor his wife Mary — also named as a co-defendant — returned a request for comment.
siphoned off as much as $8.7 million
The civil racketeering suit says Palazzolo, who runs several companies
out of the Palazzolo Plaza in Scarsdale, siphoned off as much as $8.7
million from the Westchester Trump Tower over the years. He did it by
moving money from the condo’s accounts into accounts he controlled, the
But he also pulled dirty tricks such as collecting over $200,000 in
utility payments from tenants in the condo’s commercial spaces — and
then leaving the residents to pick up the tab, the lawsuit said.
Palazzolo, 64, used the money to make other real estate investments,
including money to buy three foreclosed units in the Westchester Trump
Tower for himself, the lawsuit said.
line the pockets of people who helped him
He also used it to line the pockets of people who helped him with the
alleged scheme, including board members who were named as
co-defendants, the lawsuit said.
It has already saved $500,000
Palazzolo was ousted from his treasurer position in July 2015 after the
board noticed an unauthorized transaction. It has already saved
$500,000, just in staffing costs, by getting rid of Premium Staffing, a
company Palazzolo helped set up that overcharged the board for its
services, the lawsuit said.
"seemingly indispensable member of the board,”
Prior to that, Palazzolo had had been a “seemingly indispensable member
of the board,” who was praised for as a “financial wizard,” the lawsuit
The board, on behalf of the tenants, is seeking “relief” in an amount to be determined at trial.
Twin Falls man accused of stealing $20K from homeowners association
By KMVT News Staff
12 January 2017
TWIN FALLS, Idaho—A Twin Falls man is being accused of stealing more
than $20,000 from a mobile homeowners association in the form of
Eddy D. Packham, 55, posted bond on Monday and had a walk-in
arraignment Thursday on a felony theft charge for unauthorized use of
funds allegedly used for overpayment, paying personal bills and credit
According to court documents, in August 2013 Packham was elected as
president of a homeowners association and was paid $200 per month to
fulfill the duties.
treasurer’s reports were never presented at the meetings
For about two-years, a witness said Packham preferred to host meetings
of only the executive board members with no resident members of the
association present. The witness told police, treasurer’s reports were
never presented at the meetings.
In June 2016, a board member asked Packham how much money was in the
association’s bank accounts and he allegedly answered “very little,”
court documents said. At that point, board members suggested an audit
be done. Packham allegedly told the board members the records had been
taken to his tax preparer.
Another executive member proceeded to gather bank statements for the
association’s accounts, along with copies of checks and deposit slips.
The person allegedly found unauthorized checks made out to Packham.
Another former board member and accountant was also asked to review the
a $4,000 ‘loan’ to pay medical bills
The documents showed unauthorized payments and reimbursements made to
Packham. Some of the purchases, Packham claimed he’d received board
approval for, such as a $4,000 ‘loan’ to pay medical bills, which the
board denied having approved or would have ever approved. According to
court documents, there was no indication the loan had ever been paid
back to the homeowners association.
From January 2014 to June 2016, at a rate of $200 per month, Packham
should be received a total of $5,800. According to a probable cause
affidavit, Packham allegedly took and excess of $20,441.97 from the
homeowner’s association to deposit into his accounts and to pay
retailer credit card bills.
Other checks indicated as reimbursements for repairs, maintenance and
community association improvements were not included in the above
amount and are not being disputed, according to court documents.
Packham’s preliminary hearing is set for Jan. 20 8:15 a.m. before Judge Roger Harris at the Twin Falls County Courthouse.
ITD manager accused of HOA embezzling
Bonner County Daily Bee
By: Ryan Collingwood
11 February 2017
COEUR d'ALENE — Idaho Transportation Department business manager Scott Fellom is facing felony grand theft and forgery charges.
According to court documents, Fellom, an employee of ITD's District I
bureau in Coeur d'Alene, is accused of embezzling $13,363.85 in forged
checks from the Sunset Ridge Homeowners Association.
Fellom was the treasurer of the Post Falls-based group, which overlooks
Columbine Court and Yarrow Court near Chase Road and Poleline Avenue.
An ITD spokesman told The Press Friday that Fellom is on unpaid
administrative leave pending the outcome of a case. He's been on leave
since the first week of January, ITD said.
Attempts to reach Fellom for comment were unsuccessful.
The complainant, Sunset Ridge HOA president Matthew Erickson, reached
out to authorities last Oct. 28. Charges were filed Jan. 4. Fellom was
According to the incident report, Fellom admitted the fraud to
investigators, saying he forged the signatures of Erickson and Jerry
Thiel, a member and former president.
When investigators showed Fellom a chart of the HOA's unauthorized
withdrawals dating back to 2011, he was asked to put a star near every
legitimate transaction in that span. He didn't put a star near any,
according to the report.
Many of the withdrawals, Fellom said in the report, were to pay a personal IRS lien.
"I asked Scott how he kept this all from the HOA board," the Post Falls
Police investigator's report read. "Scott said he did the financial
reports and didn't include that money. Scott believed that he probably
filled out the checks involved at his house. He admitted that he
maintained the HOA records at his house and to cashing the checks at
the Mountain West branch in Post Falls."
The incident report noted Fellom told investigators he admitted the withdrawals to the HOA and asked if he should pay them back.
Fellom, Sunset Ridge HOA's treasurer since 2000, has a preliminary hearing Feb. 21.
$22,000 stolen from homeowners association
KEYT News California
01 May 2017
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,"
She also discovered their fire insurance coverage had lapsed more than
a year before because the previous treasurer didn't pay the premiums
and didn't tell anyone. Holifield also said all of the accounting books
"To this date, we have not received any of those books," said Holifield.
Holifield says Gladys and Victor Orozco have them. Court records show
Victor was the HOA's president and Gladys was the treasurer. Holifield
and the other residents say they asked the Orozco's, who had moved to
Riverside County by now, to return the books.
"But she gave us excuses, 'Oh, had a wreck,' 'Don't have a car,' 'Can't
afford to this week,' 'Oh, there's nothing wrong with the books,'"
I thought it was dumb on our part not to be checking the books
"I just didn't think anyone would do this and then I thought it was
dumb on our part not to be checking the books," said Betty Roina.
Roina took over as the HOA's secretary in 2009 shortly after the Orozco's left town. She immediately saw red flags.
"The first time I found out was when our neighbor across the street
told me the gardener went to him saying a check bounced," said Roina.
Without the books, Holifield had to reconstruct the HOA's financial
records one document at a time. Luckily, she had experience. At one
point, she had worked for the County Auditors Office. Eventually, she
was able to prove how Victor and Gladys Orozco stole the money. A third
party auditor verified it.
"What she would do is, she would take all of our money and deposit
them. And as she needed money to live on or whatever, because the
amounts are so different we don't know. She would take out cash monthly
over a period of three years."
In all, the Orozco's stole more than $22,000 from their neighbors at Marin Road.
"All of this wood here needs to be replaced because of the termites,"
said Holifield as she pointed to a wall by a neighbor's front door.
maintenance has been put off for years
The eaves are rotting away, the paint is peeling off and it's clear
maintenance has been put off for years, because the association doesn't
have the money. The Orozco's refused to talk with NewsChannel Three for
this story. Meanwhile, Gladys Orozco is selling real estate now.
"And that's the part that really makes us angry and upset. She's out
selling homes, getting profits on her side and never once tried to give
us anything," said Holifield.
"I would just say, 'How could you do that to us? And I never thought
you'd be doing anything like that and we'd like our money back,'" said
NewsChannel Three did try to get the Orozco's side of the story, but
Gladys hung up on us several times. At one point, she texted to say
that she would contact an attorney, but we've never heard back.
The HOA won a court judgement for $28,000 in 2013. The residents could
try to place liens on the Orozco's property, if they have any or attach
wages, which they are considering.
You may be wondering why there was no criminal prosecution? It appears
Santa Paula police dropped the ball and now the statute of limitations
This story is far from over. We will continue to follow it and let you know if the folks on Marin Road get their money.
Residents fight HOA over possible missing money
Written By Nick VinZant
23 May 2017
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.
the money was managed by their former HOA president
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.
After the former HOA president stepped down, Cuernavaca residents hired a new HOA Management company.
there was no money in any existing accounts
Carmine Carriero with Expert HOA Management, says that when his company took over there was no money in any existing accounts.
"No money whatsoever," said Carriero.
Along with no money, Carriero also found nearly $5,200 in unpaid bills.
News 4 Tucson contacted the HOA's former president. In an email he said
"I have repeatedly made myself available to the association on several
occasions in order to resolve ANY discrepancy that may exist, as the
current management company will confirm".
The current management company says the former president has not been helpful.
"Not forthcoming with any kind of paperwork. We asked him several times
for financials this way we'd be able to start somewhere, we received
nothing," said Carriero.
The Cuernavaca resident who declined to be identified says she has filed a police report about the potentially missing money.
However, since residents have no financial records and no money to hire
a lawyer to subpoena financial records, the matter is considered a
Residents are now hoping someone with legal experience will come forward and help them
"I want us to be able to survive and to be able to have structural insurance and not have the fear of losing our home."
News 4 Tucson is not naming the former HOA president at this time.
During an email exchange he told News 4 Tucson's Nick VinZant to refer all questions to his attorney.
However, he declined to provide the name of his attorney.