Calgary woman accused of stealing millions from condo corporations
CALGARY -- A former property manager of FirstService Residential — one of North America’s largest managers of residential communities — is accused of stealing approximately $2 million from condo corporations she oversaw in Calgary.
Calgary police confirm 61-year-old Carol Lloyd has been charged with one count of fraud over $5,000 and there is a warrant out for her arrest. Investigators say the accused is currently in the United Kingdom and there is an extradition order in place to have her returned to Canada.
A year-long CTV News investigation uncovered documents that show in January 2017, FirstService Residential secured a $2.6 million court judgment against Lloyd. Also named in the judgment are Ioan Lloyd and James Lloyd. Their relationship to the accused is unclear. No defences have been filed in connection with the action.
The judgment states "all funds or benefits by the Lloyds from the fraudulent scheme are held in trust for FirstService Residential" and "allows them to trace the stolen funds."
Documents show FirstService Residential also moved to freeze Lloyd’s assets including a $500,000 home, a Bentley, a Mercedes Benz and a BMW.
One of the condo corporations possibly impacted by the alleged fraud is Origins at Cranston in southeast Calgary. A resident and former board member, who doesn’t want to be identified, says she first learned of the allegations from CTV News. She says she was never officially notified about money that had gone missing.
"She [Lloyd] was our representative. She was the one who allocated our funds and paid our bills."
The money for bills and building maintenance is paid by residents in the form of condo fees that go into an operating and reserve fund. That money is supposed to be handled in good faith by the condo manager hired by the condo board.
In this case, Lloyd allegedly took money from some condo corporations.
Condo owner advocate Sharon Blondin isn’t surprised by the situation, saying it’s not the first she’s heard of an alleged fraud like this.
"It doesn’t get a lot of attention. There is no one to regulate a property manager," said Blondin, with the Condo Owners Council of Alberta.
"There is no one to complain to them. There is no one to hold them to account."
FirstService Residential has known about this alleged fraud since at least January of 2016. The company's lawsuit against Lloyd was sealed, an unusual move that prevents public disclosure. CTV News asked First Service Residential to unseal those documents but they refused. CTV News found publicly available records to uncover the story.
FirstService Residential declined an interview with CTV saying they could not comment on the legal case against Carol Lloyd but sent a statement saying, in part, "Upon learning of Ms. Lloyd’s illicit activity, we immediately notified the Real Estate Council of Alberta, the Calgary Police department and the board members of the condominium corporations affected by her criminal transgressions."
The company goes on to say "We completed a full reimbursement to the corporations to make them financially whole."
Another source tells CTV News she was on the board at Origins at Cranston when Lloyd was sued. She says she was never advised of Lloyd’s alleged illicit activities.
CTV News obtained a letter written and signed by the president of FirstService Residential, Linda Grey-Martin, dated November 2015, announcing Lloyd’s retirement saying, in part, "we will miss her great sense of humor and most importantly her dedication to the industry and the properties that she managed."
There was no mention of the alleged fraud in that letter.
In January 2016, two months after that written letter, FirstService Residential was taking Lloyd to court.
Residents say a new property management company, Rancho Realty, took over Origins at Cranston that summer and by October, they were slapped with a huge bill.
A Freedom of Information request with the city revealed a special assessment fee of more than $137, 000 to "pay underfunded operating fund contributions". It’s not clear whether it’s related to the Lloyd case but it meant a new fee of between $600 to $1,400 according to residents. The fee was determined by condo size.
The anonymous resident says she was never made aware of any reimbursement from FirstService.
"It’s like we were brushed aside and forgotten about and to hell with them!"
CTV News could not locate Carol Lloyd for comment. Calgary Police Service officials confirm Lloyd has appealed her extradition order.
FirstService Residential would not tell CTV News how many condo buildings in Calgary may have been affected by the alleged fraud.
Arty Commisso, senior vice-president of FirstService Residential, issued the following statement to CTV News.
"We cannot comment on the legal case against Carol Lloyd. However, we can confirm that upon learning of Ms. Lloyd’s illicit activity, we immediately notified the Real Estate Commission of Alberta, the Calgary Police Department and the board members of the condominium corporations affected by her criminal transgressions. Additionally, we completed a full reimbursement to the corporations to make them financially whole. Although we understand the case against Ms. Lloyd remains open, we are appreciative and hopeful in law enforcement’s continued efforts to bring Ms. Lloyd to justice."
If you believe your condo corporation might have been impacted by this alleged fraud or have other stories worth investigating, please contact our reporter Kathy Le at firstname.lastname@example.org.