Theft from Summit County metropolitan district exceeded $500,000
An arrest affidavit released by the Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s Office reveals the full extent of allegations against Robert Polich, a 63-year-old Summit County man accused of embezzling more than $500,000 from the Hamilton Creek Metropolitan District.
According to the affidavit, financial records show him writing checks to Mountain Systems, Inc., a property management company owned by him as early as 2000. From 2000 to 2015, the metropolitan district suffered a total loss of $558,575, with several checks written to Mountain Systems beyond his approved pay.
Polich — who was responsible for budgets, managing funds and other administrative functions for the metropolitan district — was able to write the checks undetected with a single-signature system.
In 2014, after he was arrested for embezzling $160,000 from the Enclave Homeowners Association in Keystone, a treasurer with the Hamilton Creek Metropolitan District decided to inspect their financial accounts. Chuck Harris first noticed suspicious activity with a $30,000 deposit Polich made on Nov. 11, 2014.
He later discovered that, in 2014, Polich wrote checks totaling $71,022 — despite being paid $41,022 for the year — for a loss of $30,000. Months later, a deposit for that exact amount was made into the metropolitan district’s account.
While records show he may have worked for the metropolitan district as early as 1995, records of checks written to him start in 2000. The total amount of losses per year is as follows:
2000: Year-end loss of $68,258
2001: Year-end loss of $56,200
2002: Year-end loss of $89,522
2003: Year-end loss of $10,395
2004: Year-end loss of $42,250
2005: Year-end loss of $66,250
2006: Checks match Polich’s legitimate pay (no loss).
2007: Year-end loss of $67,450
2008: Year-end loss of $70,500
2009: Checks match Polich’s legitimate pay (no loss).
2010: Year-end loss of $27,000, after an unknown deposit of $22,000 was made into the metropolitan district’s account
2011: Year-end loss of $27,000
2012: Year-end loss of $21,500
2013: Gain of $9,750 after an unknown deposit was made into metropolitan district’s account.
2014: No loss, after an unknown deposit of $30,000 was made into the metropolitan district’s account.
Polich was arrested on July 2, 2015, after Summit County Sheriff Detective Daric Gutzwiller investigated the case beginning in February of that year. He is charged with theft over $100,000, a class-three felony, and will next appear in court for a Sept. 28 status conference.
Harris, who remains a treasurer for Hamilton Creek, said several changes were made to the metropolitan district to prevent future theft. While the district already conducted an annual external audit in previous years, he said several internal reforms would balance responsibility between several parties.
“The main thing we did is we are really not allowing one person to wear too many hats,” he said. “Basically, what we were doing is we had Mountain Systems doing our accounting as well as the management of our district itself. We had a lot vested in one organization.”
Now, the metropolitan district’s financial account is separated from the administrator, and only a board member can sign the checks. The district also transferred to a new administrator after the embezzlement with Mountain Systems was discovered.
“We’re spreading the different duties around, with a lot of involvement from more different people,” Harris added. “There’s always some way to foil those safeguards. But at least, this way, it can certainly minimize that possibility.”
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