Article Courtesy of The Miami Herald
By Enrique Flor
Published September 24, 2016
Miami-Dade police launched their first blow in the fight
to end local condominium fraud with the arrest Tuesday of a former
accounting assistant accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the condo
accused of stealing $148,000 from the Hammocks proprietors’
association, a popular residential area in Kendall, was
arrested early on Tuesday by a newly created special police
unit. She was charged with first-degree grand theft and
organized crime to defraud more than $50,000.
Police said Navarro used the stolen money to make a variety
of purchases at supermarkets, toy stores, department stores
and a popular underwear store in Hialeah. The case was first
reported as part of a joint series called “Condos de
pesadilla” (Condo nightmares) by el Nuevo Herald and
"She [Navarro] opened a bank account to divert money
belonging to Hammocks’ residents, and in less than a year
stole $148,000," said Miami-Dade Police Chief Juan Perez,
shortly after the arrest. "We’re going to continue
investigating every time we receive these types of
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez noted the work carried out
by the county police’s special unit.
"This is the first arrest but it won’t be the last," said
Gimenez. "But we need help from Florida’s state government
so we can set forth legislative reform that can help us
bring people committing these crimes to justice."
Miami-Dade Police Department officers coordinate with
an undercover officer for their first arrest of persons related to
condominium fraud from an el Nuevo Herald and Univision 23
investigative series on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016, in South Dade.
According to police, Navarro created a company in
December 2014 and named it Hammocks Community Association Properties LLC., a
name that is similar to the corporation that is in charge of managing the
condominium: Hammocks Community Association Incorporated.
A month later, Navarro opened an account for her
corporation at Bank of America, where she began depositing maintenance
payments made by Hammock condominium dwellers.
All of these deposits
were channeled through Association Capital Resources LLC, a
debt collecting company, headquartered in Jacksonville, that
had been contracted by the Hammocks proprietors’
The investigation documented that Navarro spent part of the
money on extended shopping sprees. For instance, on May 6,
2015, money from the account paid for items at a Macy’s in
Miami totaling $487, police say.
The next day, police said money from the account was used to
pay for a shopping spree at a Macy’s in Hialeah, where the
bill was $680. Another $235 was spent at Victoria’s Secret
and $73 at Bath & Body Works, police said.
On Tuesday, Marglli Gallego, current treasurer of the
Hammocks association, praised police efforts.
"Justice was finally made!," Gallego said. "This arrest sets an important
precedent in our community. Now, it’s clear that authorities will arrest and
take people committing fraud in Miami-Dade condominiums to court."