Homeowners group controller charged with embezzling nearly $1 M
Dec 06, 2012 | 6129 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The former controller for the company that previously managed Diablo Grande’s homeowners association was arrested last month for embezzling more than $950,000 from his employer.

Chris Barna, 33, of Manteca, a former employee of Stockton-based M & C Association Management Services, was arrested Nov. 28 after being indicted on 20 counts on Nov. 21 by a federal grand jury.

M & C officials announced in June 2011 that the money he embezzled included $201,000 from Diablo Grande’s homeowners association. M & C has since repaid the HOA for those lost funds.

Barna embezzled 342 checks from April 2008 to May 2011, according to the federal indictment. Those included checks to M & C or its parent company, Dallas-based Associa, and from M & C to third parties, prosecutors said. He forged endorsements on certain checks and endorsed them as “deposit only,” prosecutors said.

If convicted, Barna faces up to 30 years in federal prison and a $1 million fine for each count.

Barna deposited checks into various bank accounts he controlled at Wells Fargo Bank, according to the indictment. He used the money to pay for personal expenses, federal prosecutors said, and manipulated financial records at M & C to conceal the fraud.

As controller for M & C, which provided association management and developer services to community associations in Northern California, Barna was responsible for the company’s account and collections departments, prosecutors said.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kendall J. Newman released Barna on a $200,000 bond during his initial appearance Nov. 28 and ordered him to appear for a status conference Jan. 14 before Senior U.S. District Judge William B. Shubb.

M & C officials said they immediately terminated Barna’s employment when they learned in June 2011 that he had taken a large sum of money from the company, including funds from the Diablo Grande homeowners association and a handful of other homeowners groups.

Carol Piering, spokeswoman for Associa, said this week that M & C has conducted both internal and external audits since Barna was dismissed.

“We are operating with the utmost of integrity and have zero tolerance for that type of behavior,” she said.

Company officials were “appalled” by Barna’s behavior, Piering said. He said M & C reimbursed the homeowners associations that lost money in the summer of 2011, shortly after the embezzlement scheme was discovered.

Diablo Grande’s homeowners association opted to switch management companies in October 2011, according to Carmen Kearney-Millan, who is chief financial officer for Diablo Grande’s parent company, World International, and a homeowners association board member.

Kearney-Millan said the new company, Danville-based Common Interest Management Services, has “a very good reputation, professionalism and experience.”

• Contact Jonathan Partridge at 892-6187 or jonathan@pattersonirrigator.com.

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