Article Courtesy of The Sun
By Macollvie Jean-François and Joe
Published October 31, 2007
DAVIE - Police said
Tuesday they arrested a condo association's treasurer on charges of
stealing more than $200,000 from the association by using a dead man's
signature to deposit bogus checks into a bank account.
The arrest Monday of Christopher Winkelholz, 26, is the result of ongoing
investigations into bilking complaints, reform advocates familiar with the
case said. It is the latest proof that efforts to stop condo association
fraud are working, the advocates said.
"It's not really surprising," said Jan W. Bergemann, president
of Cyber Citizens for Justice Inc., a Lakeland-based condo association
watchdog group. "It happens in many places, and we've been saying so
for many years. It's like a cookie jar without a lid and everybody who
feels like it can come in and help him or herself."
Winkelholz was both association president and treasurer at the Whitehall
Condominiums of Pine Island Ridge II, in the 1700 block of Whitehall Drive
in northwest Davie.
Between March and August, Winkelholz made out 10 checks totaling $201,111
to himself from the condo association's checking account, according to an
arrest affidavit released Tuesday. Davie Police Detective Scott E. Kiso
said in the affidavit that Winkelholz made out eight of the checks using
the signature stamp of Whitehall resident Leon Brand, who died in November
2006. Winkelholz also used the stamp signature of a board member, Barbara
Gordon, to make out two more checks.
Kiso said Winkelholz issued the checks to Bostero Pressure Cleaning
Service, a fictitious business name he also used in 2005 to open an
account at Wachovia Bank. Winkelholz was the sole account holder, Kiso
When Kiso went to arrest Winkelholz at his unit about 6 p.m. Monday,
Winkelhoz told Kiso that Gordon did not know he was using the signatures,
the detective said.
Winkelholz, charged with grand theft over $100,000 and 10 counts of
uttering forged instruments, was being held without bail. If convicted, he
faces up to 30 years in prison.
Whitehall Condominiums' five other board members either declined to
comment or could not be reached.
The arrest is a harbinger of many more to come, said state Rep. Julio
Robaina, R-Miami. Robaina has been working with state condo ombudsman
Danille R. Carroll on a pilot program to allow condo owners who have
evidence of criminal activity by their directors to report it.
"People now finally are understanding that they have somewhere to go
to," Robaina said.
He said condo owners should use a checklist he and Carroll prepared, which
is available at
THE PILOT PROGRAM