Michael Medeiros

Michael Medeiros

A man accused of embezzling millions of dollars from the San Mateo Woodlake Condominium Association between 2007 and 2013 was sentenced to seven years state prison Friday and was ordered to split the restitution with his co-conspirator, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.

Susan Lambert

Susan Lambert

Michael Medeiros, 62, was ordered to split the $2.84 million in restitution with Susan Lambert, 67, for crimes they committed over the course of six years that directly affected residents of the homeowners’ association.

“It’s a really good lesson that in a white collar crime, there is a fallacy that there is no victim,” said Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti. “This is an example of a serious consequence for a white collar crime. There are always victims.”

Lambert, who agreed to testify against Medeiros, pleaded no contest to felony embezzlement and felony forgery and admitted she stole more than $100,000 in September of 2016. Lambert faces three years, four months in state prison and is scheduled for sentencing Oct. 11. Because she agreed to testify in Medeiros’ trial — which ended May 11 when a jury found him guilty of felony embezzlement and felony grand theft, a judge chose to delay Lambert’s sentencing until Medeiros’ trial was adjudicated, according to prosecutors.

It’s been five years since residents of the condominium homeowners’ association were tipped off about a possible embezzlement scheme and nearly three years since Lambert was first taken into custody after a two-year investigation of records used to siphon funds from the 990-unit complex at Peninsula Avenue and Delaware Street.

Lambert had managed the association, which had a nearly $5 million annual budget, for more than a decade. A Woodlake resident previously said homeowners caught wind of the theft when a board member saw suspicious activity, including charges at various casinos, on a bank statement from a debit card Lambert had been issued.

After Lambert was fired, the association uncovered a stack of nearly 150 false invoices for construction work that was never completed. Police and investigators determined she had been conspiring to defraud the homeowners between Feb. 8, 2007, and September 2013, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors said Lambert, who reportedly had a gambling problem, would make false invoices and write checks to Medeiros’ company Professional Painting, Inc. He would then allegedly cash the checks and the two would split the profits.

Lambert was released from jail on her own recognizance in November 2016, according to prosecutors.

Medeiros’ attorney Thomas Knutsen did not immediately return a call for comment.

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(3) comments

Erg

Lambert got off lightly because she testified against Medeiros, although she may well have instigated their mutual crimes of embezzlement, fraud, and who knows what else.

Lambert should be sentenced to serve her full term of 3 years and 4 months in state prison, but she probably will neither serve a full term nor go to state prison.

I have no connection to the San Mateo Woodlake Condominium or to its Homeowner’s Association (HOA).

Lambert’s and Medeiros’ crimes interest me because I have considered buying a condo, but have found that similar crimes of embezzlement and fraud within HOAs are on the rise across the country.

HOAs really are instruments of the devil.

See this 3 year old SMDJ article, the highlights of which I have excerpted below:

$2.8M embezzled from HOA: After two-year investigation, former Woodlake manager charged, booked for theft; pleads not guilty, by Samantha Weigel. San Mateo Daily Journal, September 17, 2015.

Highlights:

• Lambert had worked for the [condo homeowner’s] association, which has a nearly $5 million annual budget, for more than a decade. She also received hefty compensation earning approximately $200,000 a year.

• Lambert also initiated a board policy aimed at preventing members from speaking with vendors or contractors, Davis said.

• For years, Lambert had firm supporters on the board and even claimed she was being harassed when someone would question her actions.

• In 2004, Lambert filed a lawsuit claiming defamation against two residents who accused her of taking “kickbacks” from a contractor, according to court records. That case never went to trial and was apparently settled through mediation, according to court records.

Tony

No Finance Committee to do a free internal audit? No external review by the CPA? Not enough people asking Q's. No surprise this gambling manager was tempted to steal. Next Q - she seems to be the instigator of these crimes, so why is she getting off so light? It seems like the contractor or money laundered for her is taking the brunt of the penalties?

Tim E Strinden

It seems Lambert was the mastermind, so she should have gotten the longer sentence.

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