Courtesy of The Sun Sentinel
Published January 9, 2016
A medical condition launched the discovery that led to
accusations that a woman stole nearly $58,000 while treasurer of a Palm
Beach Gardens homeowners association.
|Martha Susan Coppock-Hughes, 58, of
Palm Beach Gardens, was arrested Tuesday and is facing fraud
and grand theft charges.
After the Royal Point Manor East Condo Association held its
annual meeting in January 2015, the association collected
dues from its 18 members, as usual, for several months.
But in May, Coppock-Hughes suffered a stroke, causing other
members of the HOA to pick up her duties. When they did,
they discovered she was missing a check to pay her fees,
according to a Palm Beach Gardens police arrest report.
Coppock-Hughes explained to former HOA president Brigitte
Mathews that she hadn't paid maintenance fees for ten years
because of "all the work I was doing," the report quoted her
When other condo association members checked up on the work,
they found the dry vents she claimed to have cleaned were
dirty, trees she said were cut were not, among other
discrepancies, according to the report.
With Coppock-Hughes in the hospital, the HOA president, Eric
Poola and Vice President Denise Hindle added themselves to
the HOA's bank account to collect maintenance fees. That's
when they discovered checks going to a dance clothing store
owned by Coppock-Hughes, the members told detectives.
The treasurer of a Palm Beach Gardens HOA is accused
of stealing almost $58,000 from the HOA, police say.
When confronted by association members at her store in May, the report said,
Coppock-Hughes promised to drop off her treasury and association records.
Instead, she sent an email the following month resigning her post citing
Detectives went through the HOA's records and said they found 62 suspicious
checks totaling 57,402.22 that were either cashed out to Coppock-Hughes or
going to her store.
Some of the checks had the names of people who did work for the condo
association in the memo section, but when a detective talked with those
people, they said they never received any money, according to the report.
Coppock-Hughes told investigators she used the money to help fund her
business and support her family after hurricanes struck in 2005, according
to the report.
Efforts to reach Coppock-Hughes and members of the HOA for comment were
She was booked into Palm Beach County Jail and released Wednesday after
posting $20,000 bond.