Property Manager and Firm Charged with Defrauding Homeowners’ Association of $247,000
NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – December 12, 2016
SAN DIEGO – Property manager Robert Walsh and his firm, Cornerstone Management Professionals, were charged with four counts of wire fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud a homeowners’ association of $247,000. Walsh made his first appearance in court today.
The indictment alleges that Cornerstone and Walsh falsely represented that Cornerstone could properly submit bids to the homeowners’ association for construction projects, and in submitting such bids, the defendants concealed the lower bids to make it appear as if Cornerstone was the low bidder in order to be awarded the projects. The indictment seeks forfeiture of $247,000 of illegal proceeds.
The indictment further alleges that on March 26, 2015, the defendants sent an email, seeking a change order from the homeowner’s association to cover the cost of asbestos removal. According to the indictment, the defendants then sent an email to the contractor working on the project on April 28, 2015, falsely representing that there was no asbestos present in order to induce the contractor to conclude the demolition project without involving an asbestos abatement firm so that the defendants could retain the entire value of the change order.
“The public health dangers of asbestos exposure are well known,” said Jay M. Green, Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s criminal enforcement program in California. “Materials containing asbestos must be handled safely – and legally. EPA and its law enforcement partners are committed to protecting the health and safety of workers and the communities in which they live.”
“The FBI remains committed to rooting out fraud that affects homeowners in San Diego,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric S. Birnbaum. “This indictment is a stark reminder to those who reside in communities governed by Home Owners Associations (HOAs) to remain vigilant and engaged in the financial affairs of your communities.”
After his arraignment today, Robert Walsh was ordered to appear before U.S. District Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz on January 27, 2017 at 2:00 pm for a hearing on all motions. A hearing for the arraignment and status of counsel for the corporate defendant was set for December 22, 2016, at 2:00 pm before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew G. Schopler.
*The charges and allegations contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Criminal Case Number 16cr2872-BTM
Cornerstone Management Professionals, Inc. Incorporated: 2012 San Diego, California
Robert Walsh Age: 37 Ramona, California
SUMMARY OF CHARGES
Wire Fraud – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 1343
Maximum penalty: Twenty years in prison and $250,000 fine
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division;
Federal Bureau of Investigation