Contact 13 Investigates
Former Paradise Spa HOA board member pleads guilty to theft
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- One of the first inductees into Contact 13's HOA Hall of Shame has pled guilty to stealing from his association and the people who live there.
It's the latest in the saga of Paradise Spa. As Chief Investigator Darcy Spears explains, what started with her investigation nearly two years ago, is resulting in payback for homeowners.
"Financially, this is pretty big," says Senior Deputy Attorney Genera Bob Giunta.
A million bucks is indeed pretty big. Especially for homeowners of the run down, neglected Paradise Spa condo complex.
The place is a shadow of its former self thanks to the actions of Aaron Yashoafar. He's the former homeowners association treasurer and owns the majority of the Paradise Spa units.
"People that are in a situation of trust, such as Mr. Yashoafar, they're entrusted to keep the best interests of the homeowners association paramount and clearly he didn't do that," Giunta said.
Yashoafar was indicted in December on three counts of theft and three counts of embezzlement for taking insurance proceeds that were supposed to be used to repair buildings damaged by fires.
"And he also transferred about $400,000 out of the Paradise Spa account -- reserve account -- to his own account in California," Giunta added.
Multiple residents -- mostly seniors like Iris Hokanson -- were displaced by the fires.
We first met Iris in December 2010 and she told us at the time, "All the money that I've already paid and I still owe money, and I have nothing. And no place to move back in. And I don't know what I'm going to do."
Adding insult to injury, Iris and others were renting units from Yashoafar, the very man who took the money that was supposed to repair their homes.
"When we found out that most of the money is either gone or absconded with, I said this is unconscionable. This is the worst case of elder abuse I've ever seen," said former state senator Bill O'Donnell in December of 2010. O'Donnell, himself a Paradise Spa homeowner, is now the HOA president and has been dedicated to getting action from the State and accountability and payback from Yashoafar.
In a plea bargain, Yashoafar pled guilty to just one count of felony theft. He has to repay the million dollars he took and all the HOA dues he hasn't paid to Paradise Spa for years.
But under the terms of the agreement, he may not serve a single day in jail. He'll be in custody for 30 days but that could be on house arrest. The rest of the five-year term would be probation.
Yashoafar will go to trial if he fails to pay the million dollars back to homeowners by the time he's sentenced in the Fall. If he doesn't meet the court's deadline, the plea agreement falls apart.