guest blog by Nila Ridings
Charleston Harbor HOA in Kansas City North, Missouri has been the latest victim of over a $100,000 embezzlement!
On August 19, 1938 a thief by the name of Loretta Lock was born. She sells real estate and advertises how honest she is! And her performance in the courtroom would have you thinking she’s a little old church lady who laid down her knitting needles and forgot her hearing aids in a rush to stand before the judge and plead guilty to stealing from two hundred of her neighbors! Annually, they each pay dues of $400. So her stint as the board treasurer and neighborhood thief required some very careful transacting.
You see, Loretta loves to gamble! Not with her money, but with her neighbors’ money. At times she used the HOA ATM card at the casino. Other times she just wrote herself checks.
Here’s a little twist to the story. Her husband is an attorney. So sometimes she wrote him checks, too, for his fabulous legal advice! Don’t you just love this story?
How did she get caught? Well, you’ll read about that in the attached article. But those of us who’ve been around this HOA embezzlement game table for a while know she could have pulled this off without ever being busted. Let’s just say she’s a very dumb criminal.
The Charleston Harbor board president, Chaz Wood is very smart. He wasted no time getting the police involved when the bank mentioned a $50,000 deposit that was made the day before he arrived with another board member to become signors on the HOA account. Red-headed Loretta had been stalling about turning over the financial records. Imagine that!
The board made a fatal error. Claiming they wanted to “save money,” they decided to forego the annual audits that are required by the CC&Rs. Never pass on doing the annual audits. That is precisely why my HOA, to this day has ten million dollars unaccounted for! No audits is a “Welcome To Steal Here” sign!
This case was being kept very quiet until an anonymous tipster spilled a few beans. From there, reporter Judy Thomas was like a bird dog on a pheasant hunt! And everybody knows I despise liars and thieves! We were off and racing to the Clay County courthouse and it’s a long way from Overland Park! Many thanks to the person who took a stand and made the call that changed it all.
Loretta Lock has gotten her fair share of continuances on this case. But we are committed to going back on October 21, 2016 to see if the judge is going to throw the book at her or let her walk with some probation restitution. Either way, I feel justice was served today when Judy Thomas exposed this despicable fraud of a woman in The Kansas City Star. I adore the homeowner who walked up to Judy and said, “Keep it above the fold!”
Many thanks to Judy Thomas for continuing to help us educate homeowners on the risks of buying into an HOA!