Former Lantana HOA president accused of stealing more than $300,000 [11-22-16]

Article Courtesy of The Palm Beach Post

By Julius Whigham II

Published November 22, 2016

LANTANA — The former president of a Lantana homeowners association was arrested Wednesday for allegedly misappropriating more than $300,000 from its accounts to pay his personal expenses.

William J. Cox Jr., 61, is facing one count of organized scheme to defraud and grand theft over $100,000. Authorities say Cox and another person stole an estimated $339,507.69 from the Lantana Homes Homeowners Association. A probable-cause arrest affidavit did not disclose the identity of Cox’s alleged accomplice.

Cox was released from the Palm Beach County Jail on Wednesday after posting $20,000 bail. He reportedly was the HOA president for 12 years for Lantana Homes, a single-family home community near Lantana Road and east of Jog Road.

Palm Beach County sheriff’s investigators say the alleged theft of funds occurred between September 2011 and March 2015, when Cox’s tenure as president ended.

An investigation was started in September 2015 when the new HOA president reported discrepancies in the community association’s financial records.

The alleged discrepancies included checks listed as payments to one place that were actually written to a trash removal and cleaning company created by Cox. He also used HOA funds to pay personal expenses, including his homeowner’s and car insurance policies, the sheriff’s office said in its report.

The HOA’s board reportedly approved of paying Cox’s entire electric bill because he stored equipment — including computers, a postage machine and folding machine — at his home due to the HOA not having an office. The agreement was later revised so that the community association would pay two-thirds of the Cox’s electric bill, the sheriff’s office said.

The former president of a Lantana homeowners association was arrested Wednesday for allegedly misappropriating more than $300,000 from its accounts to pay his personal expenses.


However, Cox continued to use HOA funds to pay the entire bill, the current president told sheriff’s investigators. In August, he was interviewed by a detective from the sheriff’s office’s financial crime unit. He denied taking any money from the HOA and said the only money he received was for services performed by his trash-collection company, the affidavit said.

He told deputies that the current HOA president had worked for him as a subcontractor and alleged that she started spreading false statements about him after he fired her.

Members of the HOA board confirmed that there was no agreement to pay for Cox’s personal expenses, the sheriff’s office said.