Tamarac HOA President Charged with Forging Checks
BSO: About $200,000 stolen from residents of Mainlands home community
Author: Bob Norman, Reporter, bnorman@Local10.com
Published On: Aug 15 2014 06:12:05 PM EDT Updated On: Aug 16 2014 08:17:00 AM EDT
A South Florida community is dealing with the sting of betrayal, as a once-trusted homeowner's association president is charged with forging her own neighbor's names in a years-long embezzling scheme.
According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Michelle Changar-Coe, who was president from 2009 through last year, stole about $200,000 from the homeowner’s association of the Mainlands home community in Tamarac.
Changar-Coe was also a former chairwoman of the city's Parks and Recreation Department.
Deputies said Changar-Coe wrote dozens of forged HOA checks to false names similar to her own that she was able to cash.
One alleged victim is Nancy Ballhorn, a local realtor and the association's current treasurer. Deputies said Changar-Coe forged 22 checks in Ballhorn’s name.
Former HOA board member Peggy Schwartz said suspicious began to fall on Changar-Coe when another board member noticed a check with his signature on it.
"He saw a check that he knew he didn't sign and that started the ball rolling," said Schwartz.
Among the allegations is that Changar-Coe wrote a monthly check of $2,575 for a city liaison position that never existed.
And this is not Changar-Coe’s first run-in with the law. In 1997 she was charged with grand theft and forging checks.
The community’s HOA has since hired a new management company and law firm to represent it in a bid to clean up the association.