Former condo manager accused of fraud

Article Courtesy of The Charlotte Herald
By Jason Wirtz

Published April 7, 2010


CHARLOTTE COUNTY - Investigators arrested a former Port Charlotte condominium manager who is accused of embezzling thousands of dollars from residents of a local retirement community.

Stacey Herrin Tuck, 35, of North Port, was charged Sunday with scheme to defraud and grand theft, after an 18-month investigation.

"She was the No. 1 suspect from the beginning," said Charlotte County Sheriff's Office spokesman Bob Carpenter.

Tuck's arrest stems from a complaint in September 2008 by representatives of Chelsea House, an association of Charlotte Square condos, a 55-and-older complex near Fawcett Memorial Hospital.

At the time, association representatives told detectives that its June and August bank statements did not balance.

Carpenter said investigators eventually traced more than $100,000 to Tuck, although condo officials estimate that up to $4 million is missing from various association accounts.

Charlotte Square consists of nine buildings, called houses, with each having its own association. Each of the associations is independently run by an elected board of directors.

Stacey Herrin Tuck 

According to authorities, Charlotte Square hired Star Hospitality Management, Inc., as its community association manager, and in 1996, the Punta Gorda-based company put Tuck in charge of all day-to-day operations.

Star Hospitality Management representatives did not return calls seeking comment.

Tuck reportedly managed the maintenance and financial affairs for the entire complex, including access to monthly and annual bank statements.

Detectives said the alleged scheme began in 2006, although it was not noticed for two years.

A former president of the Cambridge House called for an audit in 2006, 2007, and 2008 but was voted down.

Carpenter said the investigation has been technical and exhausting, as many of the residents who filed complaints are snowbirds.

Tuck is being held at the Sarasota County jail on $100,000 bond. She will be extradited to Charlotte County.

More charges are pending.