She looted South Florida condo association money to feed a casino gambling habit, cops say

Article Courtesy of  The Miami Herald

By David Ovalle   

Published January 30, 2020

The property manager of two Sunny Isles Beach condo buildings, police say, pilfered hundreds of thousands in homeowner association money.

But Georgina Pineda didn’t just funnel the funds to her own bank account — she also gambled the money away at the Miccosukee casino, according to court documents.

Pineda, 57, was booked into a Miami-Dade jail early Monday on her second criminal case stemming from her time managing two luxury condos in the waterfront Northeast Miami-Dade town. She remained jailed Monday afternoon.

Her defense lawyer, Scott Kotler, declined to talk specifics about the allegations against Pineda.

“It is too early to tell how these cases will play out,” Kotler said. “She is actually a very nice woman, and the root of the problem lies in gambling at slot machines.”

She’s already pleaded not guilty to her first case, filed by prosecutors in December.

In 2017, Pineda began her job managing the Eden Roc Condos, 17900 N. Bay Rd., which is not associated with the Miami Beach hotel resort of the same name.

According to Sunny Isles police, Pineda had access to a condo association debit card, which was supposed to be used for small expenditures for the complex. But the suspicious condo association last year began demanding a full audit of expenditures.

Pineda waffled and “continually made excuses as to why she was not providing accounting reports to the condo board,” according to an arrest report by Sunny Isles Detective Mitchell Glansberg.

“We are going paperless,” Pineda kept telling the board’s president, police said.

Georgina Pineda -

Miami-Dade Corrections

When Pineda finally provided a spreadsheet, it was missing numerous transactions — including withdrawals at the Miccosukee casino in West Miami-Dade, the arrest report said. She was also transferring association money into her own independent business account, police said.

It wasn’t until October 2019 that the condo association president, James Murray, got bank statements and discovered that “hundreds of thousands of dollars” were missing, the report said.

When confronted, Pineda “admitted to him and board members that she had a serious gambling problem and asked for time to pay the money back.”

For the Eden Roc case, Pineda was arrested on Nov. 26, and prosecutors filed formal charges weeks later.

In the second case, Pineda is accused of stealing between $150,000 and $400,000 from the King David Condominium, 175555 Atlantic Blvd, another property she managed during 2018.