The Most Underreported Crime In America

Yes, once again we’re talking about embezzling. I could, and probably should do a story a day on how board members are embezzling from Homeowners Associations. There are so many creative ways to steal from your neighbors. But a woman arrested in Broward County just forged the names of other board members and wrote herself checks from the HOA bank account.

Michelle Changer-Coe was the president of the Mainlands Seven Homeowners Association. She’s in jail facing charges that she stole nearly $200,000 from her HOA.

Actually, while I hate to say it, this HOA got exactly what it deserved. They elected this woman president despite the fact that she was convicted a number of years ago for grand theft/forgery.

Now the big question: How many HOAs boards and managers are not involved in embezzling?

(story on Broward County HOA embezzlement)


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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.

3 thoughts on “The Most Underreported Crime In America

  1. Cynthia

    It is not just the monetary theft, that comes in second, in these outrageous and criminal homeowner abuses. What about the property thefts? Outright, conflict created, selective discrimination, targeted, farmed, or combed homeowner association (HOA)legal abuses for money and property. This is the greatest crime and the “surface” of this criminality has only been scratched, by the press. How many states, or locales, even keep records? Nevada does, but Nevada’s information is only the Association’s and numbers. It does not indicate if the fraud closure had any validity what so ever, or if the home, or property owner even knew. North Carolina has one investigative report, done on New Hanover County HOA and Condo Owner association foreclosures about 2-3 years ago, that gives the former property owner and the ridiculous amount the property was foreclosed upon for, but this does not indicate if it was legitimate, or not, or even legal. I suspect the homeowners in these abuses had no access to legal help, or could not afford it. Additionally, this investigative report only listed the foreclosures (fraud closures) that were filed under the association’s name and not those that could have been transferred to a holding company, or straw person. A similar HOA foreclosure investigation was done in an area of South Carolina, too, about 2 years ago, or so, but again, the same, or similar limitations existed.
    Pennsylvania initiated the Monroe County foreclosure study back in 2003 roughly and many of us fought for investigations and hearings. The hearings took place and the foreclosure study addressed, but they would not address the fraudulent and criminal HOA fraud closures. Not one victims truthful, life altering account was heard, although Congressman Paul Konjorski’s was well aware of what was and had been going on. I suspect, because those perpetrating these crimes, the predators, were and are part of the “wacko well connected,” who are allowed to do whatever they want to those they choose to victimize. I have linked some of the Monroe County, PA investigation and findings. If the statistics are still in these links, look at the numbers and who was foreclosing!

    Mortgage Mess – The Pocono Record
    Pocono Record

    STROUDSBURG — The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue says it is probing … The Monroe County Assessment Office is assessing land values to the buyers … a lot at stake on Saturday when the Pocono Homeowners Defense Association … County’s home-foreclosure problem will delay release of a state study on the …

    Losing the American Dream – The Pocono Record
    Pocono Record

    Advisory Committee to the Statewide Foreclosure Study. The members of the … George Hanzimanolis, Pennsylvania Association of Mortgage Brokers. – Brian A.

    Mortgage Foreclosure Filings in Pennsylvania – The ……/Mortgage-Forclosure-Filings.pd...

    A Study by The Reinvestment Fund for the Pennsylvania Department of Banking. 2 … foreclosures in Monroe County for the. Commonwealth of … e typical homeowner in foreclosure between 2000 and 2003 in …. using statistical software known as e Statis- …. Association of America (MBAA) show that the trend … Page 16 …

  2. Cynthia

    The Monroe County PA Foreclosure (Fraud closure) was actually authorized in 2004. I believe the link I posted in the preceding blog post may not be active.
    Interesting, isn’t it. Look at all the foreclosures in all the communities (HOA’s) they examined! This study is a must read. One must ask though, why no one in Monroe County, PA has done anything to rectify the victims of these abusive and many times criminal foreclosures?
    Here are the updated links to The Reinvestment Funds findings and recommendations!

    A Study of Mortgage Foreclosure Activity in Monroe County, Pennsylvania 2000-2003
    TRF’s thorough analysis of foreclosures in Monroe County, PA’s second fastest growing county, provides the facts for State action on the crisis. See the core report or a summary presentation. View PDF

    Mortgage Foreclosure Filings in Pennsylvania
    In-depth study of mortgage foreclosure filings in Pennsylvania. The study was conducted for the Pennsylvania Department of Banking, expanding on TRF’s analysis from 2004 of the foreclosure epidemic in the Poconos’ Monroe County. View PDF
    – See more at:

  3. hoasavers

    Did the rest of the board know that she had those convictions? If so, their insurance could be cancelled and moved to high risk for big bucks. Really, why are there no back ground checks done on board members? If they have issues in their past that affect the hoa insurance, they should not be on the board. 2 out of 5 at my hoa had issues…


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