Silverthorne man accused of embezzling from HOA for second time
The Summit County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Silverthorne man, charged for the second time for embezzling from a local homeowners association. Robert Polich, 63, was arrested on Tuesday, June 30, and charged with class three felony theft for embezzling more than $500,000 from the Hamilton Creek Metropolitan District Homeowners Association.
Polich, who had worked for the association for the past 15 to 20 years, reportedly wrote checks to himself while serving as a manager and accountant for Hamilton Creek through his own property management company, Mountain Systems, Inc. The Better Business Bureau shows the company was founded in 1975, with Polich listed as president and his wife as vice-president.
Chuck Harris, a member of the Hamilton Creek HOA, said that “serious financial irregularities” were noted and reported to the sheriff’s office on Feb. 25, when the HOA was transitioning from Mountain Systems to new management.
“It appears that Mountain Systems, Inc. took funds from the Hamilton Creek Metro District over a period of several years,” Harris said. “They had functioned as our manager and accountant since the mid-90s.”
While Hamilton Creek had conducted an external audit, showing no discrepancies, they decided to check their own records after Polich pleaded guilty to embezzling $160,000 from the Enclave Homeowners Association in December of 2014. Polich, who had served as a financial administrator for the Enclave since 1986, said he took the money in 2008 from personal tax-related difficulties, according to an arrest affidavit.
“He had just a laundry list of reasons why he did this,” said Deputy Daric Gutzwiller, the primary investigator of the case. “Some were related to sending his kids for college; he said he had invested funds elsewhere and had rolled them into an IRA account. He said when it rolled around, he would pay them back, which he ultimately did.”
When authorities began investigating the Hamilton Creek case, a few instances tipped them off to the suspicious activity. For example, when Harris suggested implementing a two-person signing system for checks, as is typical, Polich showed strong opposition.
“Polich was very against that,” Gutzwiller said. “He did not want that to happen.”
Hamilton Creek administrators also noticed a sudden $30,000 deposit made by Polich into the HOA’s account shortly after he admitted to embezzling from the Enclave.
“He did that because he had embezzled so much that he was trying to avoid detection by putting some of the money back,” he said. “He was writing several checks for himself, well over and above what he was supposed to be paid for … He didn’t do a very good job of hiding this. He was just pulling extra checks from the record and writing money to himself.”
He added that Polich stole the money over a period of 15 years, starting in 2000.
“Almost each year, the numbers just continued to climb,” Gutzwiller said. “Usually in those kinds of cases, they will test a method, see if it works, see if anyone notices and become bolder.”
Polich’s sentencing for his previous embezzlement from with the Enclave was set for Wednesday but will be delayed several weeks in light of the new case. Brought into County Court on Tuesday, his bond was set at $100,000 until his case was transferred into the District Court, where Judge Mark Thompson set his bond at $7,500 due to a low flight risk.
Jail records show that Polich was admitted into the Summit County Jail on Tuesday and bonded out the same day. Deputy District Attorney Rusty Prindle noted that the two cases will remain separate at this point in time.
Polich will next appear in court on August 3, for a preliminary hearing on the most recent allegations. Sentencing for his previous case, based on a guilty plea to embezzling from the Enclave HOA, is schedule for August 17. He was not available for comment at the time of this article.
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