Former property manager gets jail time for Collingwood condo fraud
by John Edwards
15 August 2017

A Springwater woman was sentence to about four-and-a-half years in jail for defrauding condominium corporations in The Blue Mountains, Barrie and Collingwood of more than $909,000.

On Monday, Justice Nancy Dawson sentenced Springwater Township native Rhonda McCarthy to 30 months for 18 counts of fraud over $5,000 and two years less a day for two counts of fraud under $5,000.

She was also given six years probation, ordered to pay restitution and a fine of about $909,000. McCarthy will also have to have pay a victim surcharge of $3,600 and will have six years to pay both this and the fine. She will not be allowed to work in a position where she is in control of money.

“I want to apologize to the court, the victims and everyone whose lives have been affected by my actions,” McCarthy said.

With a courtroom full of victims, Dawson read out victim impact statements that cited emotional and financial stress. She said condominium corporations have had to impose additional fees to make up for the stolen money.

The ongoing legal issues have also caused problems for some owners trying to sell their properties.

Because McCarthy moved money from one condo corporation to another, her actions could lead to civil lawsuits.

money was used to finance a lavish lifestyle

Dawson said the money was used to finance a lavish lifestyle for McCarthy, spending the money on “travel and cars.”

“This was pure greed,” she said. “All of these lasting impacts on all of these people, all so Ms. McCarthy could go to spas, travel and live the good life.”

McCarthy worked for Illustrious Property Management (IPM) for 23 years, most recently as chief administrator and bookkeeper. The company handled financial management for a number of condo corporations.

Records from 2009 showed McCarthy used accounting software to forge cheques totalling $909,000. After printing the cheques, she forged the signature of the company president.

The cheques were made out to herself and her estranged spouse’s roofing company, McCarthy Roofing. McCarthy would then use online banking to transfer the funds to herself in $2,000 increments, which were used for expenses.

When IPM had a large number of clients, there was a “large pool of funds,” some of which she siphoned off. In some cases, cheques were as high as $40,000.

When the number of clients of IPM shrunk, the cheques became more “modest.”

The court heard McCarthy was transferring money between different condo corporations in order to cover up her activity.

In November 2015, Collingwood accountant Ian Whitton notified police after being informed of an auditor's report, using his company’s name, for a condominium corporation that was not a client.

A condo corporation also reported that, when changing property-management firms, officials discovered $68,000 had been misappropriated.

In statements read in court, McCarthy’s family claimed they were shocked by the incidents, citing her as a caring person and a good mother to her 13-year-old daughter.

The court heard a breakup of her marriage may have led to these actions.

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