Hat tip to Mark for sending in this conclusion to a previous story seen here:
CARLSBAD, Calif. (KGTV) – More than two and a half years after Team 10 first reported about a North County property management company accused of stealing money from clients, the victims are finally getting their money back.
Kelley Zaun owned Carousel Properties, a Carlsbad property management company. Victims first told Team 10 in 2016, they hired her to pay fees associated with their rentals. They said she did not pay those fees. She was accused of taking roughly $200,000 from victims, according to investigators.
In 2018, Zaun faced 29 felonies for embezzlement, according to Deputy District Attorney Anna Winn. Zaun entered into a plea deal and agreed to a year in custody. With the help of the DA’s office, Zaun’s former clients were able to get their money back through the Department of Real Estate’s Consumer Recovery Account.
Stephen Lerner, the Assistant Commissioner for Legal Affairs for the department, said so far, 23 victims have been reimbursed through the account. Other victims’ payments are still processing. They have been able to reimburse $172,084.68 thus far.
The Consumer Recover Account is an option for fraud victims when trying to recoup money from the person who took it from them. In order to utilize the fund, Lerner said there must be a criminal or civil court order for the defendant to pay back money he or she took. If victims cannot get refunded from the person who stole it, they can apply through the Department of Real Estate.
Winn said she volunteered to be the victims’ liaison with the DRE, as the process for reimbursement is lengthy and many of the victims were elderly. One of Zaun’s victims told Team 10 he is “extremely grateful” for the DA’s office work on this case.
Victims started receiving reimbursements within the past couple of weeks.
Money for the account comes from license fees. Lerner told Team 10 there are approximately 421,000 people with a license under their department, which includes broker and salesperson’s licenses. 12 percent of the license fee paid goes to the account.
Since 1964, the DRE has paid more than $61 million to victims. Approximately 54 percent of all applications are approved.
Link to Article
More Team 10 coverage on the fraud being perpetrated by Kelley Zaun and Carousel Properties. Zaun claims that the reason she hasn’t forwarded any of the rents she collected to the rightful homeowners is because she got sick, then had a software snafu.
In the story below, Zaun is making it sound like innocent mistakes were made and it will all get sorted out.
But she has done a couple of things that don’t appear so innocent.
In the case I know, the tenant complained to her that the landscaping wasn’t being maintained. She told him that landscaping is an additional charge of $200 per month, which he starting paying. But she never told the homeowner……and never sent a landscaper!
She also finally sent the three-months’ worth of rent owed to the homeowner, but two days later the bank reversed all charges.
The victim I know still hasn’t received any money.
Carlsbad police are investigating a North County property management company after numerous homeowners complained the company took their money.
Team 10 first reported on Carousel Properties in April. Homeowners told Team 10 that the company and the owner, Kelley Zaun, collected money from their tenants, but never gave it to the homeowners.
A Carlsbad police spokesperson confirmed a case has been filed with their department, but did not go into specifics.
Rinda White hired Carousel Properties to manage her Vista home. She said the company owes her $1,800.
“We haven’t been able to travel to see the grandkids, we haven’t been able to buy things for our home that we normally buy. We’ve just been operating with gas and groceries,” White said via Skype from Texas.
Martin Benowitz said Carousel Properties owes him about $8,000.
“I was more than a little bit irritated,” Benowitz said.
Zaun has not spoken to Team 10 and her lawyer has not returned Team 10’s phone calls and emails.
Homeowners, however, showed Team 10 an email dated Wednesday that said Zaun is getting “additional help in all areas of my business; most notably, my bookkeeping.”
The email goes on to say she has an offer to join another company and feels it’s the “best possible system” for the homeowners.
I know one of the victims, and she was told by the owner that she would be paid in full today. We’ll see….
Homeowners in the North County say a local property management company owes them thousands of dollars.
Carousel Properties is based in Carlsbad.
Martin Benowitz says he hired Carousel Properties to manage is Oceanside condo. He’s known the owner, Kelley Zaun, for about 15 years.
But the recent missing money has changed their friendship.
“I’m out $6,000. How much are we going to stay friends?” Benowitz said.
Benowitz said he recently received a lien on his property because the HOA fees were not being paid—something the property management company was supposed to take care of. He also says he’s missing the rent money owed to him from the last two months, even though his tenant has paid.
He is not alone.
“There’s no reason or excuse,” said Rinda White who lives in Texas.
She hired Carousel Properties to manage her Vista home. She is also missing thousands of dollars.
“We’re on a limited income. My husband and I are both retired,” White said.
Team 10 obtained emails, which the homeowners say are from Zaun. In the emails, she admitted she “made several errors.” She also claimed she was dealing with health issues.
When Team 10 approached her Carlsbad office, she told Team 10 to contact her lawyer and shut the door.
Some homeowners want to pursue criminal charges.
Team 10 called her attorney, but have not heard back.