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Investigation continues into theft from Stratford HOA

Posted: January 15, 2013 - 11:24am  |  Updated: January 16, 2013 - 1:04am
Motorists pass through the entrance of the Stratford subdivision off Hardy McManus Road in Evans. The Columbia County Sheriff's Office is investigating a report that nearly $200,000 has been taken from the neighborhood's homeowners association account.  FILE
FILE
Motorists pass through the entrance of the Stratford subdivision off Hardy McManus Road in Evans. The Columbia County Sheriff's Office is investigating a report that nearly $200,000 has been taken from the neighborhood's homeowners association account.

Columbia County authorities continue to investigate nearly $200,000 stolen from the Stratford Community Association.

“This is an ongoing criminal investigation that will likely take several more days if not weeks to resolve,” Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris said. “Involved parties are cooperative and assisting investigators.”

Laurie Wainwright Vanover, the treasurer of the association, was questioned in connection to more than $192,00 missing from the association’s bank account.

Thomas Gorta, the president of the homeowners association, told investigators on Dec. 19 that he discovered the funds missing, according to a Columbia County Sheriff’s Office report. Morris said investigators are reviewing the group’s financial records.

Gorta told authorities that unauthorized transactions were first made on the association’s bank account on Nov. 5, 2008, according to the report. Multiple transactions, totaling $192,018, occurred through Dec. 19, 2012. An estimated $78,497 was used for credit purchases and another $113,521 was withdrawn from ATMs, according to the report.

Vanover is the only person with access to the transaction cards and checks for the accounts. Gorta said the subdivision off Hardy McManus Road has 491 homes. The association is responsible for maintenance of a community pool and common areas including an activity field and greenspace park.

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Comments (8)

mycomments

What is the holdup on the

What is the holdup on the charges? $200,000 and 4 years is a planned, purposeful theft. If I were a homeowner in this subdivision, I would hold the board responsible for no oversight. I would also protest the December vote to require pool membership. But for the theft of these funds, there would not be a sortfall in the budget to require all residents pay for pool membership in addition to their yearly dues.

soapy_725

Does the name Vanover ring a bell? Look it up?

Equal justice under the law in CC. The money is gone form the account. She alone had access to the account. The money did not belong to her, neither was it for her personal use. Jane Doe at McD's would be in a cell or posting bond. But you have to remember that a lot of financial business can be done prior to an arrest/indictment. The money may magically appear back in the account? No harm. No foul. No criminal record of arrest. Only unfounded personal attacks and innuendos directed at VIP's.

soapy_725

The truth will set you free or

the spin on the truth will set you free in CC.

soapy_725

It could be years?

Who knows the complexity of law enforcement? Blind faith and avoid any contact with the police. They will tell you to take pictures of drug dealers/criminals and then come back with a warrant for stalking.

Goaliemom1987

I hope they prosecute this

I hope they prosecute this lady and give her some jail time. There is no excuse for stealing.She is nothing but a thief! Hopefully she will get what is coming to her.

Spelunkerman

Mycomments, you r an ID10T

"If I were a homeowner in this subdivision". Where does his story mention a December vote for pool membership? I have clients in this neighborhood. It's nothing more than an unfortunate incident by one individual. From what was told to me, the board was actually attempting to save your home values by combining the HOA and pool dues.

Sceptic

Not just one person

Unfortunately, there were a number other individuals (board members past and present) whose blatant disregard for established procudures and overwhelming lack of good judgement created an environment where one person had control of the money and financial records for an extended period of time. Don't fall for the "saving home values" smoke screen; it's just a diversion intended to distract from the real issue.

corgimom

Every transaction has to be

Every transaction has to be examined to see if it was theft or legitimate. She did it so many times that she doesn't know how many times she did it, and every time she did, that's a crime.

The DA's office just can't guess at how many times she did it, they have to have proof.

But I'm waiting for her sob story about "I have a XXXX problem" (drugs, prescription drugs, mental illness, gambling problem, etc) when it really is just an honesty problem.

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