Mother and Son Accused of Stealing $122,000 from HOA [3-2-16]

Article Courtesy of Channel 10 News — Tampa Bay

Published February 28, 2016

A mother and son are jailed on Friday on charges they stole $122,000 from a homeowners association, and used it to buy food, clothing and equipment for his business.

Matthew Beard, 32, of Lakeland, and his mother, Martha Beard, 59, of unincorporated Lakeland, for one count each grand theft and fraud, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

According to affidavits, Martha was appointed treasurer of the Cimarron HOA in 2003, where she had sole custody of the debit card and checks for the TD bank account. She was responsible for making payments to various businesses on behalf of the neighborhood organization.

She was dismissed in 2015 after board members discovered a $27,000 deficit to the lawn care provider. They found there was less than $50 in the Cimarron HOA account.

Investigators found Martha had falsified documents showing payments to various businesses to hde the deficits. The lawn care provider notified board members, who then contacted PCSO, and Fraud detectives began an investigation.

The sheriff’s office collected evidence that showed Martha and, Matthew used the HOA-issued debit card to buy food, clothing, mattresses, vehicle rentals, etc.

Matthew is listed as owner of Ultra Production Group, and in 2015 he used the HOA debit card to purchase equipment, vehicles, and signage after he was hired by Lakeland Regional Medical Center to work their “Promise Run” charity event. Matthew spent over $6,000 of HOA funds to work the charity event. He also booked a cruise with the card.

Detectives retrieved surveillance videos from one of the stores where receipts showed the debit card was recently used, along with images from the TD Bank ATM – the videos and images show Martha and Matthew making these transactions.

Both Beards confessed to using the HOA funds without permission. Martha told detectives that for 11 years she attempted to put money back into the account. Detectives found evidence that she made four separate deposits into the account, totaling $12,622.00.

Detectives calculated that from 2004 to 2015 both Beards stole a total of $122,779.47.

Both Beards were booked into the Polk County Jail on the aforementioned charges, where they remain on $30,000 bond ($15,000 bond for each charge).