Friday, September 27, 2013

Merritt Island HOA Treasurer Charged With Theft and Fraud

MERRITT ISLAND, Florida  -- Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Economic Crimes Unit investigators say that they have determined that a former treasurer of the Marsh Harbor Homeowner’s Association, Merritt Island, stole funds from the HOA account from 2009 through 2012. 

60-year-old Bruce David Sonnenberg, of 1582 Drury Court, St. Augustine, Florida, in St. John’s County was arrested after the issuance of an arrest warrant for Money Laundering, Scheming to Defraud, Grand Theft, and 5 counts of Unemployment Compensation Fraud.  Sonnenberg is currently being held in the St. John’s County Jail on a bond of $50,000 pending extradition.

The investigation was initiated when information was received from the President of the Marsh Harbor Homeowner’s Association, who suspected that the Treasurer, Bruce Sonnenberg, had been mishandling the HOA account and possibly stealing funds.  Investigators determined Sonnenberg had been stealing funds, in the amount of $22,000, from the Marsh Harbor HOA account.  Sonnenberg allegedly moved the stolen money through several different accounts, involving different banking institutions in an attempt to conceal the unlawful activity. The money was traced through Sonnenberg’s personal checking accounts and companies that he owned; Start Car Company, Son Coast Car Wash and Son Coast Hospitality.

During the same time frame, Sonnenberg applied and was receiving unemployment compensation benefits while he was allegedly still receiving documented income.  A financial analysis conducted by a BCSO Certified Fraud Examiner determined Sonnenberg received over $20,000 in unemployment benefits from 2010 through 2013.

"This type of case is exactly what our newly created Economic Crimes Unit was designed for," Sheriff Wayne Ivey said.  "Our team works daily to make sure that anyone who targets our citizens with fraud or theft goes straight to jail with every charge possible."

Anyone with information about the investigation is urged to call Agent Tammy Beuer of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Economic Crimes Unit at 321-633-8410 or CRIMELINE at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477).  All calls to CRIMELINE are confidential, and callers can remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward for information leading to an arrest.