Robert Polich pleads guilty in Hamilton Creek embezzlement case

Robert Polich, 66, pleaded guilty to charges of theft and embezzlement of public property at a hearing on Tuesday.

BRECKENRIDGE — Robert Polich, a man accused of embezzling more than a half-million dollars from the Hamilton Creek Metropolitan District, pleaded guilty to charges of theft and embezzlement of public property during a hearing at the Summit County Justice Center on Tuesday morning.

Polich, 66, served as the system administrator between 1995 and 2015 at the Hamilton Creek Metropolitan District — a governing body of the Hamilton Creek Homes Association in Silverthorne — until his arrest in July 2015 after allegations arose that he was fraudulently writing checks to himself through his own bookkeeping company, Mountain Systems.

In February 2015, officials with the metro district contacted the Summit County Sheriff’s Office after discovering suspicious financial activity in the homeowner association’s bank account. According to Polich’s arrest warrant, the district’s treasurer began auditing the HOA’s bank activity after he observed a $30,000 deposit from Polich in November 2014. The treasurer believed Polich might have been trying to cover his tracks after he was arrested for embezzling more than $150,000 from the Enclave Homeowners Association in Keystone around the same time.

Of note, Polich pleaded guilty in the Enclave HOA case and served 90 days in jail in addition to four years of probation that officially ended Tuesday.

In April 2015, the Hamilton Creek Metropolitan District provided detectives with financial records dating back to the mid-1980s, including the entirety of Polich’s employment with the district beginning in 1995.

The first records of identified theft date back to 2000, when Polich and Mountain Systems were contracted to receive $19,800 in legitimate funds. The records show that Polich instead wrote a check to Mountain Systems for more than $88,000. In 2001, when Mountain Systems was due $24,000 in legitimate funds, Polich wrote checks to the company for more than $82,000. The pattern continued for the next several years, revealing that Polich had written more than $558,000 in unauthorized checks to his business between 2000 and 2014. Polich was the only individual with check writing authority at the time, according to the affidavit.

Polich was arrested again, though the case was dismissed after Polich’s defense argued that the Enclave and Hamilton Creek cases should have been tied together under the mandatory joinder rule because they stemmed from the same criminal episode.

The script flipped again in June last year, when a Colorado Court of Appeals decision found the multiple thefts were dissimilar and not subject to the mandatory combining of cases. Polich was scheduled to head to trial later this month, though the new plea agreement will move the proceedings toward sentencing and restitution instead.

At the hearing Tuesday, Polich pleaded guilty to felony charges of theft and embezzlement of public property. According to Chief Judge Mark Thompson, the theft charge carries a presumptive punishment of four to 12 years in prison, and the embezzlement charge carries a presumptive punishment of one to three years in prison.

Thompson set a sentencing and restitution hearing at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 5 at the Summit County Justice Center. The hearing is expected to last an entire day, as numerous victims are expected to provide statements at the hearing.

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