Crime

She used a fake name to bilk $50,000 from condo association, cops say. Then she vanished.

Hollywood police on April 4, 2019, released a photo of a woman who detectives say gave a fake name -- Tracy Pierson -- and bilked a condo association out of $50,000.
Hollywood police on April 4, 2019, released a photo of a woman who detectives say gave a fake name -- Tracy Pierson -- and bilked a condo association out of $50,000. Hollywood police

She said her name was Tracy Pierson and she lived in apartment 11A.

Pierson became the treasurer of Crystal Court Manor’s Home Owners Association in February 2018 and was given use of the condo’s bank card.

But police say there were two problems. First, Pierson used the card to bilk the association out of more than $50,000 from March to December 2018. Second, that’s not her name.

“An investigation into Pierson revealed she gave false identifying information to the HOA,” police said in a news release. “Detectives are looking to find Pierson’s true identity.”

The issue came to light in January when a former board member called police to report that Pierson stole from the association.

She told police that she had gotten a call from the city’s water department in November telling her that the water would be turned off to the community if the $1,088 bill was not paid, according to an incident report.

The former board member then called Pierson to ask her why the community was behind on the water bill. She told police that Pierson said she had used the money for cancer treatments, according to the report.

Pierson had her boyfriend pay the water bill with his credit card, police said in the report.

An examination by the former board member into the condo’s bank account revealed ATM withdrawals and charges to places including Uber, Bed, Bath & Beyond and pet stores, police said.

According to the police report, Pierson and the board’s president — who recently stepped down because of health issues — were the only ones with access to the account.

The former board member, police said, was able to show police text messages Pierson sent in which she said “she was only borrowing the money and her intent was never to steal it,” an officer wrote in the report.

Pierson tried to “bargain off a payment” with the board, police said, but the board did not take it.

After being called out on the finances, Pierson disappeared, police said. An investigation revealed she had not been truthful about her name.

“Any time you entrust someone to have access to your finances or your association’s finances, you should verify their identity yourself, or through a third party who conducts records checks, so you can be sure who you are dealing with,” said Miranda Grossman, a spokeswoman for Hollywood police.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Hollywood Police Department at 954-764-4357 (HELP) or 954-967-4411 or Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477 (TIPS).

Carli Teproff grew up in Northeast Miami-Dade and graduated from Florida International University in 2003. She became a full-time reporter for the Miami Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news.


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