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Stratford treasurer indicted for stealing from homeowners association

Posted: August 29, 2013 - 5:00pm  |  Updated: September 1, 2013 - 12:00am
Vanover  Valerie Rowell
Valerie Rowell
Vanover

A Columbia County grand jury indicted the former treasurer of an Evans neighborhood association on felony theft charges after she was accused in May of stealing more than a quarter-million dollars from the organization.

Laurie Wainwright Vanover, 46, of Andover Court, faces 10 counts of theft by taking, according to court documents unsealed Thursday.

Vanover is accused of stealing more than $267,000 from the Stratford Community Association between February 2008 and December 2012, while treasurer of the organization.

Vanover turned herself in to authorities May 7 and was charged with multiple counts of financial transaction card fraud, computer theft, theft by taking and theft by conversion. She was released from the Columbia County Detention Center after posting a $40,400 bond.

The subdivision, off Hardy McManus Road, has 491 homes. The association is responsible for maintenance of a community pool and a common areas, including an activity field and park.

Association President Tom Gorta first reported to police that funds were missing from the account on Dec. 19, and initially investigators estimated about $192,000 was missing.

During the nearly five-month investigation that followed, Vanover cooperated with authorities. She is accused of using an ATM card to withdraw funds from association accounts, cashing checks from the accounts, misusing an association debit card and paying personal debts with association funds.

Vanover is a licensed real estate agent previously associated with various local agencies, but not currently employed. She previously served on the Columbia County Convention and Visitors Bureau, but was not reappointed in January when her term expired.

The grand jury also indicted Vanessa Robin Waldron, 53, an employee of Augusta-based Lawyers Abstract Co., for two counts of stealing or altering public documents and one count of making false statements or writings, according to the indictment.

Clerk of Court Cindy Mason called authorities on June 13 after Waldron brought to her attention that four pages were missing from indexes to grantor books that contain index cards used to guide researchers to original property documents.

Mason offered to share video surveillance footage of the area with investigators, who arrested Waldron on June 14.

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