Article Courtesy of The Miami
By BREANNE GILPATRICK AND JENNIFER
Published October 31, 2007
Police have arrested a Davie condominium president
who they say stole more than $200,000 from his condo association by using
a dead man's signature to deposit phony checks.
Christopher Winkelholz, the president and treasurer
of Whitehall Condominiums of Pine Island Ridge II in Davie, was arrested
by Davie police on Monday. He was charged with one count of grand theft of
more than $100,000 and 10 felony counts of uttering forged instruments.
Winkelholz, 26, was being held without bail on
Wednesday in Broward County's main jail.
In a police affidavit filed Monday, Davie police
Detective Scott E. Kiso said Winkelholz wrote 10 forged checks totaling
$201,111 between March and August 2007.
Kiso said eight of the checks, which were made out
to Bostero Pressure Cleaning Service, were signed by Winkelholz and with a
signature stamp of condo resident Leon Brand, who died in November 2006.
The two remaining checks were signed using a
signature stamp for resident Barbara Gordon, police said.
According to police, Winkelholz deposited all 10
checks into a checking account for Bostero Pressure Cleaning Service. The
police investigation revealed that Winkelholz opened the account in June
2005 and was the sole account holder.
The Davie arrest is the latest in a string of South
Florida condo fraud cases.
In August, Miami-Dade police arrested another condo
association president who was accused of stealing about $50,000 in
association fees from Villa Grande Condominium.
And in May, four Hallandale Beach condo residents
were charged in an alleged kickback scheme at Parker Plaza. Police say
that case might have cost condo owners at that complex about $1.4 million.
Bill Raphan, the state's assistant condominium
ombudsman, has been involved in a pilot program for Miami-Dade County to
look into condo fraud allegations.
With inadequate oversight at many condominium
boards, Raphan said it's all too easy for people to steal money.
''The way condos are set up some of them have huge
budgets. Checks are going back and forth constantly,'' Raphan said
Wednesday. ``Construction companies are doing work and not doing work.
There's so much money if there's a payoff it's very hard to prove. They
have a lot of money to play with in these condos.''