The former general manager of an luxury condo building has turned herself in to police after she was accused of embezzling about half a million dollars from the Aventura condominium she had been managing.
Lourdes Rodriguez, 48, was charged with grand theft and with organized fraud in August, according to an Aventura police press release. Both charges are first degree felonies.
She turned herself in to county corrections officials Sept. 15.
The saga began in February 2010 when auditors alerted the Atlantic II, 21150 Point Place, association’s board that Rodriguez had been receiving a salary higher than what was approved, said Gary Green, president of the Atlantic II board.
Green said the board hired an accounting firm to analyze the condominium association’s account. According to the firm, Rodriguez had allegedly taken about $506,956 from the association from January 2007 to February 2010. The majority was used to pay unauthorized credit card charges and the rest was taken as unauthorized payroll overpayments, police said.
“This was somebody with whom I had been working with very closely for years,” Green said in an interview in April. “She seemed to be honest. I was fooled.”
When the board members confronted her in February 2010, Rodriguez, who had worked at the association since May 2004, confessed and resigned, according to Green and others associated with the condo building.
“She said she was very sorry, very embarrassed and wanted to make it up to us,” Green said.
Two weeks later, on Feb. 22, Rodriguez e-mailed residents, apologizing and blaming her actions on a gambling addiction.
“What has made me lose everything I love, my job, my friends, my home, has been an addiction to gambling,’’ she wrote. “I don’t have words to express the shame, humiliation, and hurt that I feel,” Rodriguez added. “I have no words to express this and I take full responsibility for my actions.”
Rodriguez told board members she wanted to pay back the association but she acknowledged she lacked the funds to do so, Green said. In the e-mail, she vowed to repay the association “no matter how long it may take.”