A Birmingham woman pleaded guilty on Monday, October 31, in federal court to stealing more than $350,000 from condominium homeowner associations.
Jill Rouse, formerly Jill Rouse Boothby, 43, entered her plea to one count of wire fraud. Rouse’s sentencing is scheduled Feb. 17. In a plea agreement with the government, Rouse has agreed to pay $375,750 in restitution.
According to Rouse’s guilty plea, she was employed as a property manager at Boothby Realty from 2008 through January 2015. Boothby Realty is a real estate and property management company located in Birmingham. Rouse also owned and operated an interior design business called Jill Boothby Designs. The design company is a separate and independent company from Boothby Realty and is run solely by Rouse.
As a property manager at Boothby Realty, Rouse was personally responsible for the management of 11 condominium associations within the Birmingham metropolitan area. Rouse attended homeowner association meetings, assisted with the use and accounting of the homeowner association funds, coordinated maintenance services at the properties, helped bid contracts for maintenance and improvements to the properties, and assisted the associations with budgeting. As expenses were incurred by the various associations, Rouse would advise Boothby Realty’s accounting personnel of the invoices and expenses to be paid from the homeowner associations’ funds.
Rouse acknowledged in her plea agreement that, beginning in late 2012 and continuing to about January 2015, she created false and fraudulent invoices for goods and services in the name of her company, Jill Boothby Designs, and submitted the various invoices to the 11 condominium associations that she managed. The Jill Boothby Designs invoices contained descriptions of items billed to the various associations, however, neither Rouse nor her design company actually purchased the items. Rouse submitted the fraudulent invoices to her employer, Boothby Realty, with a copy to the homeowner associations for payment out of the homeowner associations’ funds. The realty company paid the fraudulent invoices to Rouse out of those funds. To further conceal the fraud, Rouse altered the monthly financial statements that were submitted to Boothby Realty to be mailed or emailed to the associations.
The maximum punishment for wire fraud is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The FBI investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Robin Beardsley Mark is prosecuting.