HOA Embezzler Gets Prison

One of the most bald-faced embezzlers in the country has been told he’ll be spending a little time in prison.

I wrote previously about Chris Barna, who swiped almost a million dollars from the California company where he worked as controller. His firm handles the finances of a number of Homeowners Associations in California. The parent company is Associa, the HOA management firm run by Texas State Senator John Carona.

Earlier this year Barna pleaded guilty to embezzling 980,000 dollars that came out of the accounts of California Homeowners Associations

This week, Barna was sentenced in Federal Court to three years and five months in prison and more than a million dollars in restitution. Judging from past white collar crime cases, though, he’ll only spend part of that time behind bars. And it’s highly doubtful that restitution will ever be made.

But that’s justice in America.

(click here for Justice Department press release)


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Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, "Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association," is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation's legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

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