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Feldsott Lee Pagano & Canfield
Orange County Homeowners Association Law Firm

Homeowners' association members should be wary and ask questions

Most people who deal with money do so honestly. Unfortunately, some people take advantage of their positions and are less than scrupulous. Embezzlement and misappropriation of funds can occur anywhere, even within a homeowners association. Homeowners' association members here in California would more than likely benefit from remaining wary and asking questions when they find something just is not right.

It took some time, but that is what the members of an out-of-state HOA did. Many members received odd billing statements indicating that they were behind in payments ranging from hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars. When others found that their bills increased without explanation, it took them some time to ask why.

As often happens, neighbors began talking to each other and found a pattern emerging. The HOA members began an investigation on their own. A company outside the neighborhood was brought in and finally gained access to bank statements.

When those statements were scrutinized, it was discovered that a member of the board -- and one of their neighbors -- was allegedly stealing money from the association for her personal use. Numerous documents were compiled to provide to law enforcement in New Mexico, but the case stalled for some time when the assigned detective left the department. Recently, the woman believed responsible for the embezzlement is finally facing charges.

California residents who are homeowners' association members may view this story as a cautionary tale. Anyone with suspicions of misconduct by members of the HOA board may benefit from discussing the matter with an attorney in order to understand what legal rights and options are available. He or she could also assist with identifying, gathering and reviewing the relevant documentation to determine whether any wrongdoing occurred.

Source:, "Former Albuquerque HOA President charged with embezzlement, forgery", Gabrielle Burkhart, Nov. 2, 2017

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