The firm’s latest Miami Herald “Real Estate Counselor” column appears in today’s edition of the newspaper and is authored by shareholder L. Chere Trigg. The article, which is titled “Community Association Officers, Watch Out for Fraud: If You See Something, Say Something,” focuses on preventing fraud and theft, as well as responding to them whenever they are suspected, in condominium associations and HOAs. Her article reads:
. . . In the community association setting, fraudsters can come in many forms including directors, property managers, bookkeepers, accountants, attorneys, contractors and others. Those who commit fraudulent acts typically pose as experts and work diligently to gain the trust of their victims, then these unscrupulous individuals deploy their schemes and begin to syphon funds from association accounts.
In many ways, modern technology has exposed associations to new sources of potential fraud and financial abuse. The deceit involved in some cases of fraud can be immense, and it often takes much more than cursory reviews of financial and account statements by board members and property managers to determine whether something is amiss.
Some of the telltale signs of potential malfeasance include unusual payments for unbudgeted purchases, payments remitted to unknown vendors, and/or unauthorized signatures appearing on checks or other official documents. However, the variety of potential schemes, which can also include bribes and kickbacks involving unscrupulous vendors, demands the upmost vigilance for effective prevention and detection.