By Jan Bergemann

Published August 9, 2019


I have said it much too often: Anybody robbing a bank in Florida must be a total idiot. How much money can you steal by robbing a bank? In today’s time possible $20,000 or even $ 30,000 – if you’re lucky! But if they catch you, you’re in jail for a long time!

It’s a lot easier to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from a community association. It just takes much longer preparation and a little finesse, but if they catch you, you most likely get away with a slap on the wrist. Just look at the guys who stole about $1.4 million dollar – and how they got punished? Remember the PARKER PLAZA SCAM? More or less nothing serious happened to these four guys! Not one of them went to jail!


As I said above it takes a little preparation, but it’s not too difficult. Just volunteer as a candidate in the board election of a community association – many places are desperately looking for volunteers – or get a CAM license, not really too difficult. Make sure that the association you pick has well-funded reserve funds and board members who don’t really know what the heck they are doing. You don’t really have to look very far – that scenario is pretty common.


Once you’re in business you can cover it up for quite a while, because there is really no government agency in Florida that takes the statutes very seriously. Even if the Florida statutes require responses to record requests within ten days, it’s real easy to drag it out for 2-3 years. Without any government agency in Florida that actually cares about what happens in our community associations, the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes will plainly ignore FS 718.501(d)7. and give any owner, who “dares” to bother them with a complaint, the run-around – and you are safe from discovery for a long time. And even if embezzlement is considered a crime, our local police departments are ill-prepared to deal with embezzlement in community associations.


If you become a licensed CAM many board members will just blindly trust you with their money and you have every opportunity to enjoy spending their money for a long time. And if somebody catches on, these same board members will even help you covering up the damages because they are too embarrassed to admit that they didn’t watch the owners’ money – and definitely want to get re-elected.


You think I’m kidding? It happens in Florida’s community associations only all too often. There is not a week going by without any media outlet reporting about some sort of embezzlement in a Florida community association.


As you can see, it’s pretty difficult to watch your money once you bought property in a community association.


Do you now understand why I’m saying that anybody robbing a bank in Florida is outright stupid?

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Jan Bergemann Jan Bergemann is president of Cyber Citizens For Justice, Florida 's largest state-wide property owners' advocacy group. CCFJ works on legislation to help owners living in community  

associations. He moved to Florida in 1995 - hoping to retire. He moved into a HOA, where the developer cheated the homeowners and used the association dues for his own purposes. End of retirement!


CCFJ was born in the year 2000, when some owners met in Tallahassee - finding out that power is only in numbers. Bergemann was a member of Governor Jeb Bush's HOA Task force in 2003/2004.


The organization has two websites to inform interested Florida homeowners and condo owners:

News Website: http://www.ccfj.net/.

Educational Website: http://www.ccfjfoundation.net/.

     ot one of them went to jail!
We think that only owners can really represent owners, since all service providers surely have a different interest! We are trying to create owner-friendly laws, but the best laws are useless without enforcement. And enforcement is totally lacking in Florida !

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