***UPDATED 6:37 P.M. on Tuesday, May 7th***
Nestled neatly along a country road, the Stratford neighborhood is relatively quiet and peaceful. But, the news of an arrest in the case of stolen homeowners association money has punctured the typical silence.
Neighbor Song Sparks says, “everybody let their guard down because over a number of times the community was thriving, the grass was being cut, everything was being done. We assumed the statements that we got looked pretty on paper.”
However, the ugly truth soon reared its head when the dollars and cents didn't add up. It turns out, Stratford Homeowners Association treasurer Laurie Wainwright-Vanover was suspected of taking more than $200,000 from the coffers.
According to the police report, it happened over a four year period through credit cards and ATM transactions.
Homeowner's Association president Tom Gorta says, “obviously, you have to be more vigilant than anything and what you take out of this is trust no one.”
Gorta actually raised the red flag about what was happening with the association's money. Vanover's arrest doesn't surprise him. “It was an inevitability it was going to happen. Once I made the report, it was just a matter of time it was going to happen,” he says.
As the Sparks family plant their flowers, they refuse to harbor bad feelings about Vanover. Instead, they want to unearth the good that outweighs any bad committed by their neighbor. “She did a lot of good things, like when the lady had cancer, she did the ribbon thing. When the Easter egg hunt, she did that. So, it's a lot of good works that she had done. I'm not saying she's a totally bad person. I know people are outraged, but I'm not saying she's a totally bad person,” explains Sparks.
Laurie Wainwright-Vanover has been released on a $40,000 bond.
***POSTED at 11:05 A.M. on Tuesday, May 7th***
The treasurer of an Evans neighborhood homeowners association is behind bars, accused of stealing more than $250,000.
Deputies arrested Laurie Wainwright Vanover of Andover Court and charged her with Larceny – Theft By Taking (Felony/Misdemeanor), Financial Transaction Card Fraud, Computer Theft, and Theft By Conversion (Felony/Misdemeanor).
Investigators say, Vanover is accused of stealing $267,663.08 from the Stratford Community Association between November 2008 and December 2012.
When HOA President Tom Gorta first reported to deputies that funds were missing, investigators were originally looking for what happened to about $192,000 that was missing from the neighborhood's accounts.