Article Courtesy of The Sun
By Tonya Alanez and Macollvie
Published January 19, 2008
caught up to Christopher Winkelholz just in time.
When Detective Scott Kiso arrived at the suspected embezzler's Pine Island
Ridge home in Davie in late October, Winkelholz had his luggage in the
trunk of his Volvo, one of three vehicles prosecutors say Winkelholz
leased with stolen condo-association money. His passport was in his car
visor, and an itinerary to Argentina was in another set of bags.
Winkelholz, 26, the former treasurer and president at the Whitehall
Condominiums of Pine Island Ridge II, is accused of siphoning more than
$750,000 from the condo association and adjoining country club. He has
been jailed and held without bail since his Oct. 29 arrest.
On Friday, Broward Circuit Judge Pedro Dijols denied Winkelholz's request
About a dozen people Winkelholz is accused of duping attended the hearing.
Upon hearing Dijols' denial, someone gasped, "Yes!" Another let
loose a solitary clap.
More than 180 residents signed a petition asking the judge not to grant
With family ties in Argentina and no job, wife or children to bind him to
South Florida, Winkelholz posed too great a flight risk, Dijols concluded.
"There is no question in my mind that if given the opportunity, Mr.
Winkelholz will bolt very quickly," Dijols said.
Prosecutors say Winkelholz stole from the condo association by forging
signatures and using a dead man's signature stamp to deposit checks into
an account for a bogus business.
Winkelholz was originally accused of stealing $201,111 from March to
August 2007. An amended Jan. 17 arrest report says Winkelholz took
$759,654 from June 2005 to October 2007.
He has been charged with two counts of grand theft and two counts of
forgery and faces a maximum of 70 years in prison if convicted.
Kiso, an economic crimes detective with the Davie Police Department, said
he would not have uncovered the crime were it not for Peter Trapani, a
suspicious condo board member. He provided the investigator with copies of
canceled checks, including the ones containing the signature stamp of a
dead board member, and other records.
Winkelholz had a penchant for Rolex watches and luxury cars. He told his
mother, live-in fiancee and neighbors that he worked for Homeland
Security. He did not.
In the week before his arrest, Winkelholz forged two checks for $160,000
from the country club, cleared out his computer and disposed of records,
erasing evidence of the crimes, prosecutor Al Guttman said.
After the hearing, Winkelholz's defense attorney, Robert Flynn, offered
his condolences to the association members.
"Our heart goes out to them," he said, "and certainly we're
going to try to do everything possible to try to ameliorate the
SCAM PILOT PROGRAM
fraud case looms for jailed Davie
condo treasurer charged with stealing from association
condo boss arrested in fraud case