More Embezzling, This Time New Mexico

Yes, I know it’s wearying. But homeowners across the country just don’t realize how vulnerable their unregulated, uninspected, unwatched board members are to temptation. Egads! Give an ignorant board officer or property manager control over several million dollars in HOA funds….tell him or her that nobody’s watching, nobody’s prosecuting. Of course they’re going to steal! They will!  In fact, they’ll steal more and more as long as they think they’re getting away with it. Obviously, I’m exaggerating, but not by much!

The latest embezzlement apparently involves hundreds of thousands of dollars missing from Rio Rancho, New Mexico.

LOL! As I recall, this neighborhood had a very shady reputation right from the beginning. Some very suspicious characters (former Florida swampland salesmen) bought up tens of thousands of acres back in the 50s and 60s for pennies an acre. It was absolutely dry, worthless desert land. They advertised on the radio and in TV Guide, “Buy a five acre ranchette in Paradise for just 199 dollars. Know how I remember? My own parents bought  a parcel . In fact, it’s still in the family’s estate if anyone wants to buy it….cheap!

Anyway, decades later people actually started building houses, and Intel set up a big computer operation there to take advantage of the cheap labor. So fifty years later there’s actually a development….and a Homeowners Association. An Association that’s now complaining because some swine embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from the HOA bank account.

Life goes on.

(link to story on embezzling investigation)

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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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