Aspen Shake-down

 There is no great way to ask your HOA treasurer if she has a criminal record.  It is hard enough to get volunteers for many board positions without subjecting candidates to public scrutiny or background checks.

However, if you are hiring a professional bookkeeper, like this Aspen association, there is no reason not to.  The Mountain View Board, if they had checked, might have noticed that Ms. Dobbs, their treasurer, had a checkered history of fraud, forgery, and embezzlement.

You may wonder if your typical HOA checks and balances are robust enough to handle convicted felons, but Ms. Dobbs apparently did not use any sophisticated methods.  She just withdrew cash from the HOA account for personal use.  Her haul totaled over $27,000.  From the local paper:

An HOA representative told Aspen police that Dobbs was hired as treasurer. An Aspen police detective said it is easy to mistake Dobbs for a sweet older woman who has bookkeeping skills.

Upon getting the HOA job, she asked for a debit card to cover a few expenses. She then repeatedly went to a bank and drained all but $1,000 from a $28,000 account, according to her arrest warrant.

In court on Monday, Judge Gail Nichols of the 9th Judicial District asked her how she pleaded to the felony count of theft in a series of more than $20,000.

“Guilty, your honor,” Dobbs said quietly.

“Did you get money from the Mountain View Homeowner’s Association?” Nichols asked.

“I did, your honor,” she said.

“And you had to take it bit by bit, is that correct?”

Dobbs said yes.

If your board is hiring a bookkeeper, it would be fair to look into her criminal record.  And watch out for the nice little lady who wants a debit card for personal expenses.

PS.  The court is considering letting Ms. Dobbs avoid jail, based on the hope that she will repay the debt incurred.  However: 

Nichols and prosecutor Andrea Bryan both expressed concern that Dobbs — a four-time convicted felon — would steal from others to pay back the victims in this case.





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