Nancy Marquez, a former Pembroke Pines, Florida condo association president, was arrested Monday after she was accused of embezzling money from her employer and using it to gamble, news sources report. Marquez, 58, was booked into the Broward County Main Jail on charges of perpetrating a scheme to defraud and grand theft. She was later released after posting $7,500 bail bond. The press did not specify a defense attorney for Marquez.
According to reports, Marquez worked as a secretary and served as president of the French Villas condominium association for two years. She left the association in December 2010. Marquez’s primary duty was managing the association’s finances, which included a debit card, bank statements, and accounting records.
While serving as president, Marquez allegedly transferred money from the association’s bank account to her bank account. Sources say Marquez also made unauthorized transactions using the association’s account. Marquez allegedly used the money for personal expenses, as well as to gamble at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood.
Paul Coffman, a fellow board member with the association, first discovered the inconsistencies in Marquez’s records in January 2011. “We got the invoices and everything for the two years that she was on the board and started going through them,” Coffman said. “Some things caught our eye that just weren’t right.” In all, reports say Marquez embezzled $148,012 from the association.
Police began an investigation in 2011, which did not end until Marquez’s arrest this past week. According to members of the association, the association had to cut back due to the unexpected loss. However, the association’s board members were restricted from talking about the case, which left the condominium’s tenants in the dark about why the cuts were taking place. “When people kept complaining, you had to bite your tongue,” Coffman said.
During the two-year investigation, the association’s board members struggled to keep up with bill payments. The problems got so bad that the association reportedly received shut-off notices from Florida Power & Light Co. and was warned that their utilities would be discontinued if they did not pay outstanding balances. The association was also instructed by inspectors to remodel their elevator, inspect their sewer lines, and replace the fire sprinklers in their garage, adding to the list of expenses.
Coffman expressed relief when he first learned of Marquez’s arrest. “It made my day when I got the call,” Coffman said. Since the case started, the association has reportedly been able to repay some of it debt through liens on foreclosed units. “We were getting enough money to makes ends meet,” Coffman said. “We have caught up.” Coffman reportedly said the association is making a comeback. “We’re not sailing yet,” he said. “We’re still in a dinghy, but we’re catching up.” It is not clear whether French Villas expects to get any of its money back from the theft.
Fraud is prevalent across Florida and takes many forms, ranging from embezzlement to insurance fraud to bank fraud. Each year, these various types of fraud cost Florida billions of dollars. Florida is considered the fraud capitol of the United States by many investigators and financial institutions.
Source: 6.5.13 Marquez Embezzlement.pdf