Two Wildly Different Views of HOA Embezzlement

“Embezzlement is so rare in HOAs that it’s almost non-existent.”
(What the HOA industry would have you believe.)

“Another embezzler hits an HOA for nearly a quarter million bucks.”
(What those of us at Neighbors At War would have you believe.)

Oh yeah, I almost forgot!

(link to another one of those thousands of embezzlement cases)

And another….

(link to another embezzlement the HOA industry just doesn’t want you to know about)

And the list goes on and on. HOA life is hazardous to your life savings. Believe it!



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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.

8 thoughts on “Two Wildly Different Views of HOA Embezzlement

  1. Nila Ridings

    What about all the cases that never made it to the media? What about the ones that have not been caught yet? Or never will be caught?

    It seems the first thing homeowners mention about their HOA always has to do with suspicion of missing money. Or a story about somebody being caught stealing money or making purchases for liquor, diapers, or dog food on the HOA dime.

    I firmly believe more embezzlement has not been reported publicly than has been, far more! HOAs are a thieves paradise and they always have been.

    1. Deborah Goonan

      Interesting blog by an attorney on this very subject.

      Often times, embezzlement goes unreported, in order to maintain the privacy and reputation of the organization. Or a non-profit Board may want to keep it quiet and never inform its members.

      And even if the crime is reported to authorities, they may be unwilling to investigate and/or unable to arrest and later prosecute the perpetrators.

      1. Cynthia

        Oh, I agree. I believe the entire range of HOA, (COA. POA (CID/CIC)) crimes and criminality is like that of what was occurring on college, or university campus’ before mandatory reporting of crimes and crime statistics for colleges/universities. The HOAs are worse though, because of the sinister, greed and self serving nature of these crimes. The abusive and criminal HOA boards and their accomplices have everything to gain in their range of criminality and syndicated property thefts in many locales, and the innocent HOA homeowners have everything to loose. Some, have lost their futures, or their lives and these abusive and criminal HOA boards and all their accomplices need to be held accountable, no matter who they are, or where they are, or who they know!

  2. AngelaB

    When I moved into my condo, I found out (after I bought of course) that the association was recovering from a “bad investment.” Hum. This year on our budget I saw $50,000 in legal expenses. I inquired about it and never received an answer. The usual amount listed there is $500. Hum. Oh, and this same year they raised our monthly dues by $15 for “ongoing repairs.” I inquired as to what those were, and, you guessed it, received no answer.

    Also, a co-worker said that about a week after she moved into her townhouse the treasurer was found dead; she had hung herself in the garage. It was found out later that she had embezzled and lost all the HOA’s money.

    Something must be done.

  3. Cynthia

    If the industry is so great and “upstanding” and no stealing, or other criminality, why offer all this in additional insurance products? Please see below.
    The issue is the majority of theft cases, inappropriate HOA board, attorney, or other accomplices never get reported on by the media. Local law enforcement, local, state, and federal agencies won’t even investigate the worst of the property thefts, legal abuses and crimes against innocent homeowners. All these agencies with the investigative and prosecution power and responsibility to do so, but who have done nothing, should be ashamed! What are we paying them for with the tax payers money? It is despicable and these thieves, thugs, bullies and property and equity predators have gotten away with their crimes way, way too long!

    For Community Homeowners Associations in Partnership with Kevin Davis Insurance Services

    Travelers offers a specialized management liability coverage for community homeowner associations.

  4. Nila Ridings

    Angela B to this day my HOA has $10 MILLION DOLLARS unaccounted for. The guy that was the board president ran the place like it was his own personal business. All while eight other board members sat back and DID NOTHING TO STOP him. He was the board president for 26 years ( now his successor is claiming it was 16) which is far too long for one person to hold a board position. And he was always the president. He handled the elections, and was the treasurer. When I moved in and started asking to see the financial records (because they denied me that information until I was a homeowner saying the information was proprietary) it was finally discovered there had been on audits (which were required annually per they by-laws) for seven years. I hired an attorney and filed a lawsuit to see the records. The HOA president suddenly dropped dead. At the time of his death he owned 3 houses in my HOA and 2 in an HOA in Carlsbad, CA where he was running for the board at the time of his death.

    Follow your intuition. If it seems like something smells rotten in the HOA….don’t convince yourself the smell is a lovely fragrance.


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