Alleged Embezzlement Scheme Uncovered at Ocean Towers Luxury Co-op Complex

A decade-long alleged embezzlement scheme has been uncovered at the Ocean Towers luxury co-op complex in Santa Monica, California. The complex, consisting of two 19-story towers, is home to some of the most valuable real estate in the Los Angeles area. The scheme involved the manipulation of the homeowners association (HOA) board elections, draining the HOA’s accounts for personal legal battles, inside dealing of valuable real estate, and unauthorized bank loans.

Residents had long suspected misconduct by John Spahi, a member of the HOA board, and filed multiple lawsuits against him. However, it wasn’t until last year that the full extent of the alleged problems came to light. A grand jury indictment was handed down, charging John Spahi, his son Omar Spahi, former Ocean Towers Housing Corp. President Joseph Orlando, and his late wife Dorothy Orlando with grand theft, identity theft, and money laundering. The California attorney general’s office alleges that approximately $5.7 million was stolen from the residents through fraudulent billing for construction projects that were never carried out by a company named Progressive.

Investigations and lawsuits have revealed a pattern of abuse of power and financial manipulation by the Spahis and Orlandos. Residents who spoke out against them faced legal action, threats, and obstacles when trying to sell their units. The Spahis and their partners frequently transferred units among themselves, and court records indicate attempts to manipulate sales of units to buyers they had control over.

The alleged embezzlement scheme involved the creation of Progressive, a construction company, in the name of Omar’s best friend without his knowledge. Omar later confessed to his friend that the company had been used to embezzle money from the Ocean Towers complex for the past decade. This admission was cited by prosecutors as evidence in the criminal case.

The Ocean Towers complex, with its stunning views and high property values, has become the center of a legal battle that has spanned years. Homeowners associations, like the one at Ocean Towers, wield significant power and manage substantial amounts of cash. The alleged fraud at Ocean Towers is on a grand scale, with residents accusing the Spahis and Orlandos of stealing millions of dollars from the HOA.

Author: CrimeDoor

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