Tampa Bay, FlOpinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.
Are you keeping track of your CONDO /HOA Board and their Management Company?
Tampa Bay Times BY EMILY L. MAHONEY: Police: Ex-St. Pete condo property manager vacationed at Disney on company dime.
From ECHO Educational Community For HOA Homeowners: Protecting Your HOA from Fraud and Embezzlement. From the article:
Here are some common fraud tactics used against HOAs:
- Falsified bank statements
- Falsified balance sheets
- Payments made to vendors that didn’t exist
- Exorbitant “consulting” fees paid to people who either did not exist or had no credentials to consult (except for on a fraudulent plan)
- Payments for highly excessive or unnecessary repairs, amenities, etc. (like buying more patio furniture than would ever fit at the pool)
- Over billing for contract services such as pest control or landscaping
Even if your HOA has minimal annual dues and common areas to maintain, it can still be an attractive target to a would-be thief.
Often, it’s your Management Company. See the List above.
Being the president of a condo Association or Home Owners Association is a daunting task at best. Even the smallest condo or HOA has most of the problems of the large ones.
Board officers and board members along with committee members are all part-time volunteers and are rarely well informed on the legal structure and the Florida statutes regarding these associations.
Larger HOA and Condo Associations have the luxury of sufficient budgets to hire CPAs and often their own attorneys. Smaller Condo and HOA Associations are left to struggle with the issues of finance, contract management, legal issues, and disputes on their own.
You only have to go to Google an enter something like “condo Association fraud” or “HOA problems” and you will get enough reading material to keep you occupied and entertained for some time.
The perfect opportunity for fraud exists when everyone “keeps to themselves,” and no one pays attention to the Board of Directors, the person or persons managing the money, and supposedly paying the bills.
Check This one out: By Matt Miller: Woman who stole more than $1K at Carlisle Barracks hit with new embezzlement charge in West Virginia.
It would also be a good idea to check and see if your Condo or HOA Board members have met the Certification Requirements Of Florida Statute 720. If not, any action they take my not be legal or enforceable.
You might be considering becoming an officer or member of your Condo or HOA Board, if you are check out these things. Florida Statute 720, your Associations Declarations and By Laws, and ask some former officers or Board members.
It is a great way to lose friends, make enemies, screw up your retirement and send you looking for few acres with no HOA to build your new home.
See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.
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