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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Second embezzler indicted for condo scheme

Published: September 6, 2012
Section: News

A Middlesex County grand jury has indicted a second person for embezzling from Waltham’s Glenmeadow Condominium Association. It is alleged that in 2010 condominium member Lesley Correa stole $350,000 in condominium funds for her personal use. Her ex-husband, Preston Correa of Fitchburg, was indicted this week in connection with the scheme to steal from the association.

According to The Waltham News Tribune, Preston had been the property manager and the bookkeeper of the Glenmeadow Condominium Association. Preston allegedly asked Lesley to take over his bookkeeping duties in June of 2010 and, by 2011, the Correas delayed exposing the condominium association’s financial records to the association’s accountant for an annual review, which led to the eventual discovery of the theft. Preston was indicted on three counts of larceny.

When the Correas did hand in the condominium association’s financial records, the association’s accountant discovered that condominium funds were lower than expected and that checks had been written to the condominium association’s account that were unrelated to condominium maintenance and upkeep. Following this discovery, the accountant found that the bank statements submitted by Lesley were fraudulent.

“It is alleged that the Correas stole from the condominium’s account that comes from what residents pay for upkeep and repair projects to the complex,” Stephanie Guyotte, spokeswoman for the Middlesex County District Attorney, said. “Preston and Lesley were discovered when the association’s accountant noticed discrepancies and low balances in the association’s account.”

According to The Tribune, after further investigation it was found that Lesley was also using the condominium’s funds to pay for gas, electric and cable bills for herself and her family members. She had also been using the condominium’s funds at gas stations, jewelry stores, Walmart, Target, beauty shops, and for domestic airfare to California and West Virginia.

Police believe that while Lesley was spending condominium funds, Preston was attempting to cover their financial tracks, by signing off on checks for work by private contractors that, according to authorities, never occurred. The checks Preston wrote totaled about $30,000 and were meant to look like condominium maintenance costs, but were actually written to divert the authorities from Lesley’s spending trail.

“The Middlesex District Attorney’s office does a lot of preventive work with businesses,” Guyotte said. “One of the most important things is to have a checks and balances system where more than one person is looking at your financial records. That is the most important thing that a company or organization can do.”

Glenmeadow Condominium Association refused to comment about Lesley and Preston Correa, and terminated its relationship with the Correas in January 2012.

Lesley was brought before the Middlesex Superior Court Aug. 9, and her next court date is set for Sept. 21. Preston will be brought before the Middlesex Superior Court Sept. 7.