BERLIN — The other shoe dropped late last Thursday for Berlin businessman Bill Scott, president of Scott and Company, advertised as a full-service accounting and property management firm, when a Worcester County Grand Jury indicted him on six counts of theft and theft scheme for allegedly bilking several resort area condominium associations and individuals out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
As expected, the grand jury last Thursday afternoon indicted Scott, 37, of Bishopville, on six total counts related to alleged theft scheme carried out over a period of about two years from late 2008 to early this year. Scott was indicted on two counts of theft scheme over $100,000, one count of theft scheme over $10,000 but under $100,000, one count of theft from $1,000 to $10,000, and two counts of theft less than $1,000.
The first three counts are related to Scott’s alleged theft scheme carried out against three area condominium associations including the Assateague House Condominium Association, the Sunset Village Condominium Association and the San Remo Condominium Association. The latter three counts relate to thefts from individuals, presumably connected to the individual condo associations.
According to Worcester County State’s Attorney Beau Oglesby, Scott allegedly forged checks or endorsed checks from the three individual victims named in the indictment. The three individual victims each own condominiums in Sunset Village in West Ocean City, according to the State Department of Assessment and Taxation.
According to the indictment, Scott allegedly stole $437,417 from the Assateague House Condominium Association between December 2008 and December 2010; $340,254 from Sunset Village between November 2009 and January 2011; and $46,403 from San Remo between April 2009 and February 2011. The totals for the individual victims named in the indictment came to $1,300, $570, and $328.
Shortly after the indictment was handed down last Thursday afternoon, Scott was arrested at his business in Berlin. According to sources, Worcester County Sheriff’s deputies camped outside his business most of the afternoon, presumably waiting for the pending indictment.
Scott was originally ordered held on a $826,247 bond, or the equivalent of the sum total of the money he absconded with from the six victims named in the indictment. At a bond review hearing last Friday, however, Scott’s bail was reduced to $250,000. He was released from jail on Monday after posting the requisite 10 percent, or $25,000, from various sources including a credit card, cash and a promissory note. According to Oglesby, Scott faces as many as 78 years in jail and/or a fine of up to $75,000, maximums the state’s attorney intends to pursue.
“This gross misconduct committed by one placed in a position of trust demands the most serious of responses by the criminal justice system,” he said. “The goal of this office is not only to make the victims whole, but to hold Mr. Scott accountable for his actions.”
Earlier this year, the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) began probing alleged “account improprieties” carried out by Scott and Scott and Company, Inc., which handled accounting and property management duties for several area condo associations. The investigation began when it came to light Scott and Company had allegedly bilked several area condo associations out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in operating and reserve account funds through a months-long pattern of misappropriation and fraud.
In the meantime, one of the condominium associations allegedly victimized by Scott and Co., the Assateague House Condominium Council of Unit Owners, through its attorney, earlier this month filed a civil suit in Worcester County Circuit Court seeking over $1 million in damages.
Assateague House is seeking $437,417 in compensatory damages, representing the figure Scott allegedly misappropriated from the association through various schemes, along with $100,000 in “special consequential damages.” In addition, Assateague House is seeking $500,000 in punitive damages.
According to the complaint, Assateague House hired Scott in June 2008 to do the accounting for the condo association and perform certain other management functions including collecting fees and assessments, making bank deposits, paying bills, keeping financial records and other fiscal duties. However, the association soon began to notice irregularities with its accounting and financial records.
The complaint alleges Scott was carrying out his misappropriation scheme at several of the condo associations he handled and was shuffling funds between various accounts in an effort to cover the shortfalls. The largest of Scott’s alleged improprieties came from Assateague House’s money market reserve account, from which $325,791 in direct checks to the company were drawn. In addition, the complaint alleges Scott misappropriated $73,600 from Assateague House’s construction account. According to the complaint, Scott and Comapny also caused unauthorized advances to be made upon Assateague House’s open line of credit with PNC Bank totaling $125,000.