Article Courtesy of El Nuevo Herald
(Translated in English by Google)
Published April 2, 2019
The size of condominium fraud in South Florida is such
that it simply overwhelms the local police effort. Hence, a private company
has decided to open a niche to position itself in the investigation of fraud
in residential complexes.
Two former detectives
from the Economic Crimes Division of the Miami Dade Police
Department were hired as key parts of the South Florida
Property Owners Consulting LLC (SFPOC), and after a
three-week investigation they managed to compile the
evidence that led to the police to arrest the president of
the board of directors of a condominium in Cutler Bay, south
of the county, accused of mishandling the money of the
Orlando León, 55, was arrested in January on charges of
theft and organized fraud, according to public records.
According to the inquiries, León used money from the
association to install air conditioning in his apartment.
Le Club at Old Cutler Condominiums
The vice president of SFPOC, Luis Ruiz, said that the
compiled accounting documentation was subjected to a financial analysis that
established that Leon installed air conditioning units using money from the
owners association. Then the case was taken to the police, his detectives
corroborated the documentation and on Thursday, January 31, they proceeded
to arrest Leon.
Carlos Luffi, leader
of the police squad to stop the condo fraud in Miami Dade,
confirmed the police intervention and the arrest of Leon,
whose version could not be obtained. In the office of that
condominium they said on Tuesday that Leon was not there but
that they would send him the message.
Ruiz said the case
came to SFPOC from Elizabeth Pons, a Colombian lawyer who
graduated from Harvard law and owns an apartment at Le Club
at Old Cutler Condominiums.
"Faced with suspicion of improper acts at the condominium
meeting, I began to investigate that the president of the
association committed bad management, and took money in his
favor," Pons told El Nuevo Herald. "In 2018, I went to the
DBPR (Department of Business and Professional Regulation)
and no complaints arose. They were totally ineffective. From
there I went to the police and I learned about the existence
of SFPOC, made up of retired detectives from the police. "
Ruiz indicated that the cost of SFPOC services fluctuates
between $ 1,750 and $ 2,500.
"The bigger the condo, and the more documentation we have to
check the price will increase. But we have never charged any
client more than $ 2,500 so far, "said Ruiz. "An audit could
cost them 10 times more, but what we offer is to draw a
route so that the authorities proceed to effectively solve
the neighbors' complaint."
Pons stressed the use of multiple investigative resources
that lead to discovering the existence of illegal activities leads him to
conclude that the amount charged by SFPOC "is quite reasonable".