Homeowners frustrated by postponed embezzlement case
A small congregation of Hamilton Creek homeowners sat outside of the courtroom, waiting to speak on a case involving more than half a million in embezzled funds. Robert Polich, 63, is accused of stealing $627,000 from the Hamilton Creek Metropolitan District over the course of 15 years. As he walked out of the courtroom, he asked the restless crowd to reconsider.
“I just urge you folks to look at the legal documents because I didn’t take any money from you,” Polich said. “I built your community to what it is now.”
“What’s half a million, Bob?” one of the group retorted.
The case has been postponed several times since charges were filed in February of this year. In July, Polich was sentenced to 90 days of prison and four years’ probation for embezzling $160,000 from the Enclave Homeowners Association, but a preliminary hearing on the most recent case was postponed for Wednesday, Sept. 9.
Yesterday morning, a status conference was set for Sept. 28, giving the defense additional time to consider case discovery. During the next hearing on that date, Polich will either enter a plea agreement or plead not guilty and move to trial.
“I already told his attorney that I’m not backing down,” Deputy District Attorney Rusty Prindle told the frustrated homeowners.
He later added that the postponement was not surprising, considering the amount of material — including several invoices — to be considered.
“Everyone’s still getting up to speed with discovery,” he said. “It takes time to look for both parties.”
He added that he was not yet sure of how Polich’s previous embezzlement case would factor into future proceedings.
Tom Hand, president of the Hamilton Creek Metropolitan District Board of Directors, said that Polich had embezzled the money by writing checks from the metropolitan district’s account to his account. Summit County Sheriff’s Office detective Daric Gutzwiller said that the discrepancy was not discovered by auditors until after his embezzlement from the Enclave was revealed.
“The case has been dragging on for some time,” Hand said. “We have a very strong feeling that he has taken money unauthorized.”
Fifth Judicial District Attorney Bruce Brown said that if found guilty of theft of more than $20,000, a class-three felony, Polich would face about six years in prison.
“The difficulty in those kinds of cases is, are we gonna see any money?” Brown said. “This is major, major fraud.”
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