kC business owner pleads guilty embezzling $750,000
from homeowners associations
KANSAS CITY, Mo. ‑ Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that the owner of a Kansas City, Mo., business pleaded guilty in federal court today to embezzling more than $750,000 from dozens of homeowners associations.
Dale Palmer, 53, of Kansas City, Mo., waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert E. Larsen to a federal information that charges him with mail fraud.
Palmer owned and operated Home Owner Association Services (HOAS), headquarted in Kansas City, Mo. HOAS provided property management services for building and neighborhood homeowner associations and managed operating accounts for homeowner associations. It also performed administrative tasks, such as making deposits, paying expenses, and managing reserve accounts. HOAS operated in Missouri, Kansas, Wisconsin, and Illinois, with additional offices in Overland Park, Kan., Westchester, Ill., and other locations.
Palmer closed HOAS’s Kansas City office in March 2011 and absconded with over $751,302 missing from the accounts of 32 homeowner association clients.
By pleading guilty today, Palmer admitted that from July 2009 to March 2011, his business experienced serious cash flow problems. Palmer explained that he was very poor at managing money for HOAS and could not resolve his cash flow issues. Instead, he moved funds from the homeowners associations’ accounts to hide that he was paying for HOAS’s expenses. He commingled the funds of each of the homeowner associations, even though he believed it was a crime to do so.
Palmer started preparing false statements for all of the homeowner associations in July 2009 and continued to prepare the false statements until HOAS closed in March 2011. Palmer never allowed the homeowner associations to see their bank statements. By the time HOAS closed, Palmer was aware that he embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from HOAS’s clients in order to keep his business afloat.
In the months leading up to March 2011, Palmer altered account statements that HOAS provided to the homeowner associations in order to make it appear that HOAS was financially sound, when in reality, it was not. When Palmer’s company collapsed, at least 32 homeowners associations suffered loss, including Wildwood West Seventh Plat Homeowners Association, Woodglen Estates Home Association and Gascony Condominium Owners Association in Kansas City, Mo., Liberty Run Homeowners Association in Liberty, Mo., Twin Lakes Homes Association, Inc., in Gladstone, Mo., Ward Park Place Homeowners Association in Raymore, Mo., The Manor Homes of Mission Condominium Association in Mission, Kan., The Meadow Homeowners Association of Kansas City in Kansas City, Kan., and Metcalf 56 Homes Association, Inc., in Shawnee Mission, Kan.
When interviewed by federal agents, Palmer attributed the downfall of HOAS and the fraud to poor management and “stupidity.” Palmer explained that he had a large ego and thought that he could expand his business to five different cities. Palmer stated that the funds that he pulled out of the bank accounts were used for HOAS’s expenses or were placed into the accounts of other homeowner associations. He denied using the homeowner associations’ money for personal expenses.
Under federal statutes, Palmer is subject to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel M. Nelson. It was investigated by the FBI.