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Monday, May 16, 2022

Former president accused of stealing from HOA

John Joseph OConnor
John Joseph O’Connor

A former homeowners association president is accused of stealing nearly $3,000 from the HOA by making multiple ATM withdrawals with the association’s debit card after he resigned.

John Joseph O’Connor, of 2614 Dogwood Place Lot 2614, was arrested Thursday on a warrant charging him with grand theft and scheme to defraud. He lives in the Coachwood Colony mobile home park and was president of the HOA until March 5, when new management took over.

The new treasurer contacted the Lake County Sheriff’s Office on April 28 after reviewing the HOA’s online bank account at United Southern Bank and observing nine unauthorized ATM withdrawals totaling $2,972 made between March 15 and April 22. The treasurer contacted the bank and was told the debit card used for all the transactions was issued to O’Connor. She said O’Connor voluntarily resigned as president and was aware he was no longer authorized to withdrawal money, according to the sheriff’s office report.

The withdrawals were made at two different Publix stores in Mount Dora, a Publix in Leesburg, a credit union in Leesburg and an ATM in Daytona Beach. Four of the nine transactions occurred within the City of Leesburg for a total amount of $1,069.

On April 29, a sheriff’s deputy tried to contact O’Connor by phone but the line was disconnected. The deputy then went to O’Connor’s residence and spoke with him in his carport. O’Connor said he lost his wallet – with the HOA’s card inside it – in November 2021 at Renniger’s Flea Market. He said he called the bank and reported the card was missing, He said he also had to obtain a new Florida’ driver’s license, social security card and personal bank cards. He provided a signed written statement and swore it was true, the report said.

The deputy checked the state’s Driver and Vehicle Information Database (DAVID) and learned that O’Connor had just obtained a new license two days earlier, on April 27. The deputy also called the bank was told O’Connor had never reported the card missing, according to the point.

The deputy reviewed security footage from all of the ATM locations and observed the same man making the withdrawal. In each case, the man would wear a mask to cover his face from his nose down, wear something over his head and use an umbrella to shield himself from the surveillance camera view. The deputy was also able to see where the suspect parked his vehicle before approaching the ATM and identified the car as a 2010 Volkswagen Jetta, which is what O’Connor owns and drives, the report said.

Last Wednesday, the deputy returned to O’Connor’s residence and saw the 2010 Volkswagen Jetta parked in the carport. The deputy knocked on the door and could hear O’Connor walking around in the residence, but he never came to the door. The deputy also spotted an umbrella next to the front door that resembled the one in the surveillance videos, according to the report.

A warrant was issued the next day and O’Connor was arrested and taken to the Lake County Jail. He was released Saturday on $7,000 bond. O’Connor is scheduled to appear in Lake County Court on May 31.

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Anthony Earnest Marchesseault

Tony Marchesseault was a member of the St. Mary of the Lakes Catholic Community in Eustis. He was an avid reader and loved history, nature, photography, technology, and always explored how to do things most efficiently.

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