Category Archives: Foreclosures

Rent out your Las Vegas Home, go to Jail

Rent out your HOA Home, Go to Jail

So you thought your HOA home was such a sweet investment. After all, if you had to move to a smaller home in this economy, you could always rent out the HOA home to help pay the mortgage couldn’t you, Bunky?

After all, that’s an age-old way of diversifying an invesment and keeping its value high during a recession.

But many  HOAs are deciding that HOA rentals are cheapening the neighborhood so they’re arbitrarily passing rule that say, “You bought it, now live in it, damn it!”

Florida has been especially hard-hit. Tiana Patterson decided to sell her home. She has had to cut prices over and over again. Putting up a For Rent sign might save her investment until the economy improves, but the pushback from the Madison, Miss. HOA is so strong that she’s having to spend $36,000 a year for upkeep, andbut that money is now down the drain.  The HOA In Madison, Miss.HOA is so strong that she’s having to spend $36,000 a year for upkeep, but that’s money down the drain.  HOA Advocates say it’s an age old way to protect your investment, so why are HOAs threatening finds and foreclosures for people who rent their homes?

That’s a puzzling question.

The only real answer it that power-drunk HOA board members backed by power drunk HOA lawyers see money rolling into their pockets in the short term. They don’t give a flying fig about long term property values. They care about only the sort term. And that’s why you’re hearing so many nightmare stories abount unnessary fines ad foreclosures. When someone else’s money is at stake, you have very little incentive to protect your own property values.

And shame, shame, shame on the contrarians.

Another Cop Pleads Extreme Stupidity in Las Vegas

William Ronald Webb was a major player in the federal investigation into massive corruption in the Valley’s HOAs. His plea comes just a day or so after the federal judge in the case told victims they probably wouldn’t see any restitution in the case. That’s the problem with ponzi schemes, the Bernie Madoffs made off with your money and leave everyone else in the pyramid high and dry.

The Vegas HOA scandal wasn’t really a ponzi. It was just a run-of-the-mill insurance fraud, phony HOA election, bribery, swindle with some good old boys mixing the date-rape drug in the police lab thrown in for interest. Oh, I forgot, several dead cops, dead attorneys, and a lawyer with his knees bashed so far backwards that he actually had to work up a sweat before climbing a ladder in his brother’s barn to hang himself from a rafter.

Now that the judge has officially pronouced all those little old men and ladies swindled and broke, all the victims could hope for was that the scammers might get some extra time in the joint. Naw, they’ll spend more time smoking joints than sleeping in them. Web got six years. The swindled old ladies get to pay the penalty for the rest of their lives. Somehow, it just doesn’t seem fair.

More coming. But don’t expect any huge jail time.

A Completely Imaginary Conversation

Imagine for a moment that your company has transferred you to California’s Central Valley. Lots of warm days are in your future, you get a chance to dry out from all the rain and snow in your old home town.

Your Realtor has been driving you around several neighborhoods in Angels Camp: Saddle Creek Resort, Copper Cove and the little community of Copperopolis. Suddenly you see it! The house of your dreams! The yard is nicely kept, the rooms are large, the last owner has really taken good care of the place. “What’s the neighborhood like?” you ask the Realtor.

“Oh, it’s pretty good,” she says. “The HOA likes to keep things in order. They make sure everyone knows the rules and keeps the neighborhood neat. There’ve only been a couple problems here.”

“Problems? What kinds of problems?”

“Ah,” she says. “A few years ago, one couple didn’t pay their $120 annual dues. The HOA popped them with a lien and then sold their house at auction. It cost the couple $70,000 to get it back. The couple won’t do that again.”

“Whew! What else?”

“Hmmm,” says the Realtor. “Oh yeah. There was this disabled guy who couldn’t get into his house. He got permission from the county to build a wheelchair ramp. But he didn’t ask the HOA first, so they popped him with a fine of $15,000.”

“Wow!” you say. “That seems a little harsh.”

“No, not at all. It keeps folks in line. Keeps up property values.”

“Anything more?” you ask.

“No,” says the Realtor. “Oh yeah, almost forgot. There was one thing that happened here a few months ago. The office manager of the Copper Cove HOA, the same one you’re in right now, stole about $25,000 from the neighborhood treasury. She embezzled 18,000 bucks and used the HOA credit cards to buy all her gas and groceries.”

“Who has to make all that money up?” you say as you raise your eyebrows.

“Well, after she gets out of jail, she might have to do some restitution. In the meantime, a special assessment from all the homeowners will be used to rebuild the treasury.”

You take a long last look at that nice house, the neatly trimmed neighborhood and the blue skies.

“I think I’m going to look elsewhere,” you tell the stunned Realtor. “I lived in an HOA once. Nah, don’t think I want to do that again. See ya!”

Fraud? In An HOA? G’wan!!!!!!!!!

As I’ve said before, once in a while you’ll find a lawyer who may actually be given a spot in Heaven. Is this another one?

Fraud in community associations.  by: Bill Raphan September 13th, 2012 | 2:41 PM

Unfortunately, there is fraud being committed in community associations throughout the State of Florida every day.

I spent 5 years working with the Economic Crimes unit of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in their Condominium Anti Fraud program.

The good news is that the majority of the complaints that were submitted turned out not to be fraud but were only mismanagement or misappropriation of funds.

Usually, it was unintentional and just from a lack of knowledge.

However, there were times when there were red flags that caused the need for further investigation and sometimes arrests and prosecution.

What should you as an owner look for if you suspect fraud in your association?

These are some of the most common fraudulent activities that were found:

Kickbacks – Vendors paying off board members “under the table”

Including over inflating contracts and “kicking back”  the difference

Schemes concerning credit cards

Altering or falsifying financial records

Forged signatures

Paying for work not done

Paying nonexistent employees

Submitting false expense vouchers

Want to learn more about fraud, contracts, dealing with vendors, and much more?

Next Wednesday, September 19, 2012, we are conducting our free “Board Member Basics” board certification class.

The class will be held at our Katzman Garfinkel and Berger Law and Learning Center

5297 West Copans Road from 10 AM – 12PM

To register call 954 315-0372

Steamy HOA Poop!

I promise you, I absolutely promise you I have tried to avoid writing about this story. It first popped up about three years ago, and is so far outside the realm of common sense that I haven’t wanted to damage my own credibility by retelling it.

Still, more and more HOAs around the country are turning to DNA analysis to find out whose dog is pooping on whose lawn.

No, really.

There’s nothing that drives an HOA board member nuttier than seeing someone else’s dog squat on an unapproved lawn. And technology has made it cheaper for an HOA to actually trace a dog dump.

Remember the days of OJ Simpson when a DNA test took eight weeks and cost about fifty thousand dollars? These days you can get an overnight DNA test for about eighty bucks. Which brings up HOAs like the one in Austin, that now require all dog owners to have their pets “registered.” I guess that means a doggie cheek swab? I don’t know for sure, but it’s a sure fire way of getting even with a next door neighbor who keeps walking his dog past your mailbox.

If you see an unauthorized poop, you can now grab a spoonful and send it to the HOA’s lab. A few hours later, you have enough evidence to go bash in your neighbor’s door.

Life is grand, isn’t it?