ST. GEORGE- A former treasurer of a homeowners association in Hurricane allegedly admitted to stealing more than $153,000 from the community’s main account – but a recent audit found the losses were significantly higher.

HOA dues were allegedly intended to repave the roads of the Lava Bluff mobile home park, where the former HOA treasurer is accused of taking more than $249,000 from the account since 2015, Hurricane, Utah, June 27 2022 | Photo by Ron Chaffin, St. George News

St. George News learned of the alleged theft after receiving a series of messages from a reader informing her that the money had been taken by Sharon Gordon, who was formerly treasurer of the Lava Bluff Owner’s Association, the governing body of the Lava Bluff Mobile Home. Park on North 3880 West at Hurricane. The 55+ community consists of approximately 180 units, the majority of which are manufactured homes.

Lava Bluff resident Tim Mullicane said he started noticing irregularities sometime after 2015. He became more suspicious during his wife’s tenure as assistant treasurer, during which she s is denied access to bank statements or other bank records, he said.

The treasurer eventually stopped providing accounting of the destination of funds at monthly meetings and provided no financial or accounting documentation even when asked, Mullicane said.

When he approached the board with his suspicions, he said it had taken the board more than three months to remedy the situation.

They eventually confronted Gordon in February, who allegedly admitted to the theft. Shortly after, residents received “skinny” information about the situation, Mullicane said.

It was during one of those meetings that HOA Vice President Diana Waterson told residents they had a detailed statement of all money withdrawn, but after multiple requests for documents were ignored. , he said, residents wondered how the council came about. to the amount withdrawn. A detail showing an accounting of withdrawals, dates, etc. was missing.

The money that is now exhausted has been allocated for new road paving, which is badly needed, Mullicane said, as well as new furniture for the clubhouse in the center of the complex.

HOA dues were allegedly intended to repave the roads of the Lava Bluff mobile home park, where the former HOA treasurer is accused of taking more than $249,000 from the account since 2015, Hurricane, Utah, June 27 2022 | Photo by Ron Chaffin, St. George News

Mullicane also reported the incident to the Hurricane Police Department, but on April 24 he received an update from authorities that they had received a call from Lava Bluff Homeowners Association President Gary Marsik. who told authorities the incident was being handled internally. .

St. George News contacted Hurricane Police Officer Dan Raddatz in May who said he received a call reporting the incident, but when detectives followed up on the report they were told the situation was being handled ” internally” and that no charges were being pursued at that time.

Raddatz said detectives are ready to investigate if the board changes its mind.

Meanwhile, a new treasurer, Brian Fast, was elected at the end of March to serve on the board. Mullicane then requested a copy of the detailed statement listing the losses, since his earlier requests went unanswered.

It was then that Mullicane learned that no such document had ever existed, he said.

St. George News contacted Fast, who said that as soon as he was elected treasurer, he began “digging through” bank statements to see what was wrong.

He also said the amount of the $153,100 loss came directly from former treasurer Gordon, who was confronted about the missing funds in February. During the meeting, he said Gordon was asked how much she withdrew from the accounts in total, i.e. when she wrote down the amount shown and then “slid the paper over the office” to Waterson, the vice president, who he said took Gordon’s word. for that and went from there.

Then, at the board meeting, he said Waterson allegedly told residents that the board was working from a detailed statement outlining the tally of monies taken. But in reality, Fast said, such a document did not exist — a problem that became problematic when residents began asking for copies of the document.

When St. George News reached out to Waterson for comment on Wednesday, she said she “had nothing to say” and ended the call.

Fast said a lien filed against Gordon on April 1 was for $161,399, which was the original amount the former treasurer admitted he took, he said, plus interest and fees. lawyer. He said the lien was filed before the audit to secure at least some of the money by attaching Gordon’s property as collateral, “to make sure we got at least some of the money”.

He said from there he contacted an accounting firm in St. George to perform an external audit to get an accurate accounting of the amount taken from the accounts. The audit was certified on or around June 25 and found the losses were much higher than Gordon had originally quoted.

Stock image | Photo by Chalirmpoj Pimpisarn/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

In fact, Fast said, the amount withdrawn since 2015 was more than $249,000, through a series of checks and wire transfers from the main account that held the HOA fees, which were then deposited into four separate accounts. Fast suspected this was done to make the money hard to follow, he said.

Additionally, the audit revealed numerous checks which appeared to have been forged as the checks required two signatures, one of which was the President’s signature which appeared on many checks, but upon further inspection it was clear that the signature did not match his Signature.

St. George News reached out to Lava Bluff Homeowners Association president Marsik, who resigned from the board on June 18, but requests for comment went unanswered.

Once the audit was ordered, Fast said he then contacted Hurricane authorities to ensure the incident was reported, but the investigation was put on hold until the audit could be completed. .

Now that the audit has been certified, he said the council “intends to pursue criminal prosecution, as they now have an accurate record of what was actually stolen”.

St. George News has reached out to Gordon for comment, but inquiries have gone unanswered at the time of this report.

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