Property firm bilks Point Loma HOA out of thousands
by NEAL PUTNAM
Published - 05/12/17 - 03:05 PM | 2840 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A property manager and his company have pleaded guilty to wire fraud in concealing bids to the Park Point Loma Homeowners Association involving improvements and asbestos removal.

Robert Walsh, 38, and his firm, Cornerstone Management Professionals Inc., will be sentenced July 7 in U.S. District Court in San Diego.

The restitution figure of $247,413 will be paid to the Park Point Loma Homeowner’s Association as part of the sentence, according to court records.

The maximum sentence for Walsh is 20 years in federal prison and the firm could be fined $500,000. However, it is expected that paying restitution to the Point Loma association will be the focus of sentencing.

Walsh is the sole owner of the firm, which was incorporated in 2012 and is located in San Diego. He remains free on $25,000 bond.

The guilty pleas acknowledge the company and Walsh concealed the lowest bids of improvement projects in order to make it appear that Cornerstone’s bids were the lowest available.

The company pleaded guilty to a wire fraud that involved a false email sent on April 28, 2015 that no asbestos was in the clubhouse of the association. This induced a contractor to conclude the demolition project did not need to hire an asbestos abatement firm.

“The public health dangers of asbestos exposure are well known,” said Jay Green, a special agent for the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Materials containing asbestos must be handled safely and legally. The EPA and its law enforcement partners are committed to protecting the health and safety of workers and the communities in which they live,” said Green.

An FBI special agent, Eric Birnbaum, issued a statement that said the guilty pleas “underscores the variety of creative methods people in positions of trust employ to illicitly exploit the financial resources of others.”

The charge is federal because the email was transmitted in wire communications in interstate commerce through a server in Phoenix.
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