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Mixing Board President and Management Company President Roles Led to Fraud

If there is one easy piece of advice I can offer condominiums – always use an unrelated management company to manage your books. While this won’t eliminate fraud it most certainly cut down on it.

For owners in the Lovers Key Condominium, Estero, Florida – this lesson came with a rude shock: $291,500 stolen from the association’s funds by past president Charles Bennett III, and past vice-president Kenneth Marwick. In this case Lovers Key Condominium also used Bennett’s property management company, EID Management & Realty, to operate their condominium.

When the president of your board is also the owner of the management company you contract, it is too easy for bad things to happen.

In this case both Bennett III and Marwick have pleaded guilty to first degree grand theft charges. Both have been sentenced to prison time and following probation.

Being in the role of both control of the condominium board and the management company they were able to funnel money into companies controlled by the two men, all of them unrelated to association activities. (video)

As more and more money sits or flows through condominiums and HOAs, we need legislation that forces boards and management companies to be non-related. The use of two eyes – the boards Treasurer and a management company is a powerful way to keep the books legitimate and funds safe, and that relationship needs to be kept separate.

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