Florida’s Biggest HOA Embroiled In Fraud Scheme
Florida’s biggest HOA, which governs The Hammocks near Miami, is embroiled in a fraud scheme, and residents are speaking out.
The Real Deal, a publication that covers real estate industry news, delved into the ongoing situation, specifically focusing on the experience of Nicolas and Lourdes Padron. Per the report, the couple “never imagined having to leave the Hammocks, a suburban Miami enclave that was their home for three decades.”
The Hammocks, a planned community of approximately 60,000, is overseen by the Sunshine State’s largest homeowners association, known as The Hammocks Community Association.
The Padrons’ troubles began when the Association began sending them threatening letters. According to Lourdes, “It was $1,000 for this, another $1,000 for that. They just threw amounts. We were constantly harassed.”
Among the purported issues were claims that the driveway was the wrong color, a specific tree required pruning, and the home’s hurricane shutters weren’t up to code. In addition, the HOA stated that the Padrons owed thousands of dollars for various assessments.
The problem? The couple believes to this day that the supposed violations were illegitimate.
The couple told The Real Deal that they attempted to disprove the Association’s claims. However, upon being told they owed $4,335 and being threatened with foreclosure, they simply paid the alleged bill and sold their family home.
As it turns out, South Florida authorities had started investigating The Hammocks’ homeowners association leadership as far back as 2017. In November 2022, four former board members were arrested amid claims that they had pocketed over $2 million from fraudulent HOA violations.
Marglli Gallego and her husband, Jose Antonio Gonzalez, seemingly led the scam, funneling money through five companies, two of which were owned by Gonzalez.
The other ex-board members who were charged – Myriam Rodgers, 77; Monica Ghilardi, 52; and Yoleidis Lopez Garcia, 47 – were all involved in re-routing the funds as well.
Attorney Sebastian Jaramillo spoke out about the situation, which is still tied up in litigation, “The fraud to me seems very unsophisticated. It’s a situation where she [Gallego] is paying to her husband’s company, which is domiciled in her own addresses. There isn’t even any attempt to hide it
As for The Hammocks, there are currently 46 homes for sale in the community, averaging about $500,000. The HOA is under new leadership.
What do you think about this HOA fraud scheme?
Gordon W. McNamee
Gordon W. McNamee is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) based in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. Gordon W. McNamee can assist you with your tax return preparation, payroll, accounting and tax planning needs. <br /> <br /> 2021 is Gordon W. McNamee, CPAs 38th year in the profession. As as a former IRS agent (1984 through 1987), Gordon has been in public accounting since 1987. Gordon specializes in individual, corporate, HOA, trust, estate and payroll taxes. He also prepares financial statements and provides accounting & bookkeeping services. He enjoys making his clients feel at ease while providing a personalized professional service.
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