Karen Whiting, who owns community management association Method Real Estate, went to prison in mid-January for stealing more than $300,000 from four Valley HOAs she managed. The water and electricity were almost turned off in Gilbert Fincher Creek community Whiting was hired to manage because she hadn’t paid the bills, according to Maricopa County Superior Court documents. Whiting pleases guilty to theft and fraud for taking almost $21,000 from that HOA, $177,000 from Gilbert’s Greenfield Lakes HOA, $117,000 from Phoenix’s Paradise Park HOA and $2,445 from Phoenix’s Gold Key Racquet Club. Board members from those HOAs testified about how the thefts hurt their communities, including home sales falling through and property-tax liens. When HOA members began to suspect wrongdoing, there was no regulatory agency for them to turn to for help. Instead, members themselves researched and documented the thefts and then notified Gilberts police.

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