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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.

Ex-condo association president, 82, arrested on embezzlement charges
Former Bon Aire treasurer indicted for allegedly pilfering $81K
Former condo president guilty of mail fraud
Ex-treasurer accused of stealing $87,000 from Torrington HOA
$39,000 taken from New York HOA
$10,000 taken from California condo
Hickory Woman Accused of Embezzling from Homeowners' Association
No jail for Severn condo president who stole $70,000
Pewaukee condo association treasurer charged with embezzlement
Sussex woman reportedly stole thousands
Former treasurer admits embezzling
Suspected embezzler in court
Ex-President stole $366K from Homeowners Association he oversaw
Ex-president admits to embezzling $300K; worked for NYPD
HOA bank statements show questionable withdrawals
Delaware secretary/treasurer charged with theft
Former HOA treasurer admits embezzling more than $100,000
Woman sentenced for embezzling from condo association
Elderly Rockford man charged with stealing association funds
Lawsuit filed against former Lakes Northwest HOA board member
Woman charged with felony theft
Sleazy treasurer left Westchester Trump Tower a financial mess
Twin Falls man accused of stealing $20K from homeowners association
Idaho ITD manager accused of HOA embezzling
$22,000 stolen from homeowners association—directors skip town
Arizona: Residents fight HOA over possible missing money

Ex-condo association president, 82, arrested on embezzlement charges in West Palm Beach
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 said.

He was charged with grand theft and booked into the Palm Beach County Jail Thursday night. He was released Friday afternoon after posting $5,000 bond.


Former Bon 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,” Albertson recalled.

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 investigation.

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 2013.

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 did].”

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 time.”
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?


Former condo 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 association.

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 this month.

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 homeowner’s association
The Register Citizen Connecticut
By Esteban L. Hernandez
Posted: 10/09/14

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 association.

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 affidavit.

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 affidavit.

“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 $50,000.

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 control.

Arbor Ridge is a non-stock corporation where member homeowners pay dues for road repairs and other services; the association also pay city taxes.

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

Salvatore Franciamore

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 checking account.

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 West Way.

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 disbursements.

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

Stamford Advocate
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 sewage bill.

Jaime Lipsher, 47, of Park Street, Stamford, was charged with second-degree larceny and released after posting a $10,000 court appearance bond.

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 affidavit.

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 said.

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
Capital Gazette
11 July 2014

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' attorney.

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 Champion
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
Champion Newspapers
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
DNA Info
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 statement.

"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 McMahon's office.

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 said.

He's due back in court on June 30.


Homeowners' association prez admits to embezzling $300K; worked as civilian for NYPD
Staten Island
Frank Donnelly
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 group.

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 Island great."

"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 said then.

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 public.


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 totaling $20,167.63.

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 years.

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 deposited $50,000.

“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 Missouri.

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 the community.”

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 disappointment.

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
Becy Vargo
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 dismissed.

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
Register Star
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 documents.

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 Homeowners Association.

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 company.

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 lawsuit.

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
The sentinel-Record
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 affidavit.


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 suit said.

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 said.

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 overcompensation.

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 card debts.

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 documents.

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 never arrested.

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," said Holifield.

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 were missing.

"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,'" described Holifield.

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 Roina.

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 has passed.

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 Tucson
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 civil case.

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.