Embezzlement, Texas Style

guest blog by Deborah Goonan

East Texas, Big Woods Springs HOA is a relatively small community of 85 homes, with low assessment payments of $35 per month. They need the money to maintain their road, a small bridge, and a dam for their lake. Homeowners have just been “blindsided” by the theft of $31,000 from their HOA.

The theft allegedly occurred over a 26-month period, by their neighbor and former Treasurer, Letha Anna Thomas. Owners became suspicious when their repeated requests to see financial statements were ignored.

The new Board members vow to operate with transparency, and intend to conduct background checks on all future Board candidates.

Note that $31,000 represents about a year’s worth of assessment payments for the Association. Most of the residents are on fixed incomes.

Just because the community is small and assessments are low, don’t assume that the HOA cannot be a target for embezzlement.

7 on your side: HOA theft victims say, “We’ve been kept in the dark for years.”

(link to KLTV-TV story on latest 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.

1 thought on “Embezzlement, Texas Style

  1. AngelaB

    You’d think with the Internet that HOAs could put PDFs of the HOA’s checking account statements online for members to see (it can obviously be a secure site for members only). It seems like an easy thing to do to maintain transparency. However, whenever I ask for anything, even a copy of the master insurance policy, they can’t just email it. They have to photocopy it (at my expense) and mail it (at my expense) all the while griping and complaining about the favor they are doing me, like I have zero right to view such materials.


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