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Utah HOA treasurer pleads guilty to embezzlement after FOX 13 investigation

Posted at 1:30 PM, Nov 02, 2023

HURRICANE, Utah — A former treasurer of the Lava Bluff Homeowner's Association in Hurricane has pleaded guilty to two federal charges in an embezzlement scheme of HOA funds.

Sharon Gordon, 66, could spend up to 20 years in prison upon sentencing for wire fraud and making false statements on a tax return.

    Sources in the courtroom said she agreed to a plea deal in which she will only serve 17 months, if it's approved by a federal judge.
    FOX 13 News first broke the story in 2022.

    FOX 13 Investigates: HOA Treasurer confesses to embezzling more than 150k thanks to persistent homeowner

    Gordon embezzled approximately over $232,000 from four Lava Bluff HOA bank accounts between 2016 and March 2022.

    Prosecutors said she abused her position of power to divert the money and then underreported her personal income to the IRS.

    "In execution of the scheme, Gordon diverted the funds electronically by transferring them directly to her personal account, writing checks to herself and her boyfriend and forging other board members’ signatures, depositing checks representing HOA member fees directly into her personal accounts, writing checks to casinos from HOA accounts, and withdrawing cash from HOA accounts."

    Gordon was ordered by the court to pay $20,490 in restitution to the IRS and $63,448.32 in restitution to Lava Bluff HOA.

    To date, Gordon has paid $168,629.68 in restitution to the HOA after a lien was placed on her property. In order to sell her house, Gordon had to pay the lien with proceeds from the sale.

    "She not only took the money from the HOA fund, but she stole from every one of us seniors here," said homeowner Ken Alderman. "My wife worked for a bank before, so it sounded really fishy to me."

    Homeowners said they believe Gordon has a gambling problem.

    Tim Mullicane noticed his checks were being deposited next to a casino in Mesquite, Nevada.

    He spent years trying to get the HOA to look into the missing funds.

    "Honestly, I was just kind of told I didn't know what I was talking about," Mullicane said. "You know, I'm not a whiz or anything — but if you look at it... things weren't adding up right. It was obvious to me, but a lot of people got lost in the numbers and figured everything was just fine.”

    Mullicane described Gordon's demeanor in the courtroom on Thursday as "reserved."

    He said he hopes the federal judge rejects the plea deal at sentencing, because he feels 17 months is too lenient.

    "I don't think she's sorry," Mullicane said. "When she came in, she just gave us dirty looks. Didn't say a word to any of us... maybe she's sorry she got caught."

    "She stole from these seniors here for over six years. I would like to see the judge sentence her to at least six years," he added. "Do to her as she did to us. I’m not saying 'a hand for a hand' or anything like that, but 17 months is kind of a slap on the wrist to a lot of us that lived through it for six to seven years."

    Gordon hung up the phone, presumably declining to comment when FOX 13 News spoke to her in 2022.

    FOX 13 News plans to attend her sentencing, which is not expected to occur until February 2024 at the earliest.

    The hearing has not yet been scheduled.

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