Courtesy of The Sun Sentinel
Published July 8, 2015
Hollywood woman was arrested for allegedly stealing money
from her boss for her own profit and that of her condo association..
|Police said Theresa Brunetto, 70, was
taking money from a trade organization where she worked as
treasurer to pay her own bills, nearly $50,000, as well as
those of the Hollywood condo association where she still
serves as president. The Ocean Grande Beach Club received
just over $11,000, according to her arrest report.
But Brunetto said her intentions were honorable, and she was
desperate to save a collapsing business. She said she never
intended to steal, that she has lived an honorable life, and
was working on paying the cash back out of her $2,000
monthly social security checks.
"To this to me is just awful," she said. "I can't tell you
how sick I am over this whole thing. My whole life is
ruined. I made one stupid mistake. Just one."
Brunetto is accused of trying to pay back
the trade group, the American Association of Healthcare
Administrative Management "so that AAHAM wouldn't find out
what she was doing," according to her arrest report. "At no
time did she have permission to do this."
Brunetto was booked into jail Sunday morning and was
released on a bond of $5,000 later that evening.She is being
charged with grand theft.
Investigators said from 2009 through 2014 Brunetto worked as
the treasurer for the AAHAM. Her scheme came to light,
police said, when the South Florida chapter and the central
and north state chapter began to merge and combine funds.
However, there was no money in the South Florida chapter's
"They merged and the gig was up," she said. The money she
took was "not money being used, it was sitting there.
[Still], it wasn't right, I'm not proud if it."
Police said Theresa Brunetto, 70, was taking money
from a trade organization where she worked as the treasurer to pay
her own bills, nearly $50,000, as well as the Hollywood condo
association where she still serves as president. The Ocean Grande
Beach Club received just over $11,000, according to her arrest
Brunetto was fired — she said it was a volunteer position — and AAHAM
attorneys drafted a promissory note which she signed. But after half a dozen
payments, "she didn't maintain the schedule she stated that she would,"
according to the police report.
With a debt of still $41,322.98, the AAHAM turned the case over to police.
Brunetto, reached at home Monday, disputes that figure and said the
remaining debt is $39,543.98 — and she intended to return all of it. She
said the condo association paid back all of its $10,000, plus $1,000
interest and she paid back $10,200.
The American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management is a
national association for people who deal with revenue in healthcare such as
billing managers or patient collections offices. The group offers networking
as well as certification permits.
The state chapter's president declined comment.
Brunetto said the Ocean Grande didn't have money to pay its property taxes
because unit owners hadn't paid on time.
"I arranged a loan from AAHAM to Ocean Grande, though nobody knew about it,"
she said. "They did pay it back. It was a temporary loan with $1,000
interest. That's a nice interest don't you think?"
Brunetto said she needed money to keep afloat a company, which she started
in 1973, that represented doctors and patients and pursued insurance firms
that failed to pay claims. The company, which she declined to name, has
"We were the good guys," she said. The money she took paid to keep the
company's lights and phones on, and pay for an employee's health insurance.
"I dumped all my money in my company trying to save it," she said.
The police investigator wrote in the report that Brunetto "was upset [AAHAM
wasn't] giving her more time to pay the funds back."
On Sunday she spent 12 hours in jail. "Not a cockroach deserves to go to a
place like that," she said. "Do I feel bad? Absolutely. I never meant for it
to reach to this."