Posts Tagged ‘Crime’

Harry Reed Confesses To Embezzling From Texas HOA

December 17, 2012

This is one of those stories that we will hear over and over again, with only minor variations, but it is always worth pointing out the details.

 

Boards must be diligent and pay attention to those expenses.  Here, it was the details that tipped them off:

 

 

The employee said Reed later produced slips of paper with workers’ signatures, but the employee said she and other board members were suspicious about his story. For one thing, the complaint said, some of the cash withdrawals were made outside Texas, and the number of tree removals in the subdivision didn’t match the number of slips of papers he presented.

 

Former Tomball HOA president accused of embezzling $41,664

By Carol Christian
Read the rest, here on the Houston Chronicle site:
http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Former-Tomball-HOA-president-accused-of-4097297.php

Cobb County Crooks Getting Off Clean?

December 12, 2012

Hopefully we’ll see a better resolution to this:

Repost:

Posted: 6:54 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012

 http://www.wsbradio.com/news/news/no-charges-cobb-hoa-embezzlement/nTSns/ 

No charges in Cobb HOA embezzlement

Video: http://bcove.me/xtwqdoiy 

 By Andrew Spencer

Homeowners in Austell want to know why the former HOA officers aren’t facing any criminal charges.

“They don’t want to see their money just get tossed like this,” says current Ewing Downs homeowners association secretary James Nicholson. He believes the former officers were embezzling money from the association.

Nicholson tells Channel 2 Action News the new board was looking over the HOA’s bank account.

“While we were doing that, the bank representative who was helping us noticed it right off,” says Nicholson. “She told us. She said, ‘These guys are stealing from you.'”

The ledger shows about $5,000 in charges for clothes, gas, groceries, and even a bus ticket.

Weeks after the discover, Nicholson says no charges have been filed.

The Cobb County Sheriff’s Office says there is still an active and ongoing investigation into the alleged embezzlement at Ewing Downs.

Aspen Shake-down

September 18, 2012

 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.

 

 

 

Grand Theft HOA: Developer Board President Charged

September 12, 2012

Wow, Florida’s getting an unfair share of  juicy HOA news this week.

This story comes from Central Florida, where apparently people live in nice subdivisions on the everglade swamps between Tampa and Orlando.     

This guy, no Mickey Mouse fraud, was the developer of a homeowners’ association that was not finished before the bust in 2008.  Left an unfinished association and a bunch of empty lots, it appears Mr. Meadows decided to make the most of the situation by “financially exploiting” (per the State Attorney) the homeowners that had already bought in.

Mr. Meadows allegedly set up a rigorous and illegal fine schedule, charging as much as $100 per day for minor infractions.  The association’s funds went to contracted companies that Mr. Meadows owned, and occasionally  to pay unrelated bills like his personal mortgage.  He is charged with misappropriating over $500,000.

Fortunately, the State Attorney’s office got wind of it, and, after four years, has thrown the book at Mr. Meadows.

When a developer controls an Association, either here in Idaho or in Florida, many of the democratic processes and checks-and-balances that normally protect Association Members do not function.  However, owners need to be aware that they still have rights, and that the Association must be run according to state law.  Board members, whether they are elected or not, still owe fiduciary duties to their Association.  They must follow conflict of interest rules, make disclosures, and, at the end of the day, might get dragged off to Court.

Without awareness of homeowner association issues, and with no common interest ownership laws, it would be hard for homeowners to get the attention of prosecuting attorneys here in Idaho.  It would be difficult to find someone like Polk County’s Investigator Stephen R. Menge to dig into the nitty gritty.