As a member of a Home Owner Association (HOA), you expect your HOA dues to be used for the betterment of the community. You also expect the HOA board and HOA manager to be transparent in their actions and finances. You don’t, however, expect those funds to be embezzled or the HOA manager accused of theft. Sadly, that’s exactly what happened in Tampa, Florida, where HOA manager Jamie Fonville is accused of theft, stealing nearly $230,000 from three different HOAs.
According to a detailed report from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, an individual named Fonville, during her tenure as an account manager at First Choice Association Management, abused her authority to issue checks. These checks were fraudulently drawn on behalf of 58 distinct Homeowners’ Associations (HOAs). Rather than directing the funds to legitimate expenses for these associations, Fonville deposited these checks into her private bank account. She then misused these embezzled funds for various personal expenses, including purchasing Tampa Bay Buccaneers game tickets and everyday grocery shopping.
Subsequent to the discovery of her actions, Fonville was arrested. She currently faces three counts of felony scheme to defraud. However, the investigation is ongoing, and the sheriff’s office suspects there may be additional victims yet to be identified.
What is a Felony Scheme to Defraud?
In Florida, the “Scheme to Defraud” law prohibits any sort of financial fraud, including through the internet, mail, wire, phone, or other media.
In this case, Fonville is accused of using her position as HOA account manager to manufacture fraudulent checks and depositing them into her own bank account. Although felony investigations may take some time, if you have been a victim of HOA fraud, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer can often help consumers recover the funds that were stolen from them and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.
Latest Development in the Case
On September 5, 2023, Detectives from the Economic Crimes Unit arrested Jamie Fonville on thirteen additional charges of Scheme to Defraud. Since her initial arrest in June, thirteen more victims have come forward, reporting a total loss of $526,433.61. This brings the combined loss from all cases to approximately $754,734.44. If convicted, she could face several years in prison for each felony count.
It’s important to note that this is an ongoing investigation, and more updates will be provided as new information emerges. As per the legal system, the defendant, Jamie Fonville, is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Tips for HOA Members
If you suspect any mishandling of your HOA dues, it’s crucial to contact your HOA board or management company without delay. Additionally, consulting an HOA attorney can provide clarity on your legal options as a member of the homeowner association. | This article is for informational purposes only and does not represent legal advice.
Led by attorneys Michael D. Finn and J. Andrew Meyer with over 75 years of experience, the Finn Law Group is a consumer protection firm based in St. Petersburg, Florida, and is dedicated to protecting the rights of consumers who have been victimized by fraud, negligence, and other unfair business practices. Visit our website or contact us at 727-214-0700 for a free consultation. Follow us on Twitter for more on HOA issues.