Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Condo Manager Could Get 30 Years

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Condo Manager Could Get 30 Years

Article excerpt


A Longboat Key condominium manager who bought a motorcycle with the property's money and then drafted fake documents from a fictional insurance company to cover it up faces up to 30 years in state prison.

A jury last week found Judy Paul, 49, guilty of scheme to defraud more than $50,000 and stealing more than $100,000. The woman, who formerly managed Sand Cay condominiums, 4725 Gulf of Mexico Drive, cashed or deposited about 50 checks worth approximately $216,000 for personal gain from 2006 to 2009.

"And we all know that when you tell one little lie, you've got to keep covering it up with more lies, and that's exactly what this defendant did in this case," said Erika Quartermaine, assistant state attorney, in her closing argument.

The Longboat Key Police Department began investigating Paul after an audit led to questions about an expense of nearly $13,000.

The check was written to MRHD, which Paul claimed was an acronym for Mariner's Risk Homeowner's Division -- an out-of-state insurance company that was needed for construction liability on the property, but the company does not exist. Instead, the acronym is for Manatee River Harley Davidson.

"The motorcycle is so important because this demonstrates the length at which this defendant will go to cover up what she did," Quartermaine said.

Paul, who was paid a $62,000 annual salary, said she obtained permission to purchase the motorcycle from the president of the condominium's board. Paul claimed she was promised additional compensation when she agreed to take on more duties, but the money never came.

"Judy Paul is guilty of only one thing: Trusting these people," argued her attorney Lee Blais, according to transcripts from the trial. "Does it make any sense that this lady came onto a job, agreed for a certain fixed amount, was given a whole lot of extra work to do and didn't want more compensation? …

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