A former HOA treasurer was arraigned Tuesday after being indicted on 16 counts of fraud, theft, forgery and computer tampering.
Wendell Odean Byram, 80, is accused of stealing more than $204,000 from the Canoa Seca Estates II homeowners association from January 2011 to April 2017, according to the indictment handed down Oct. 9 by a Pima County Superior Court grand jury.
In addition to one count each of theft and fraud, Byram is charged with seven counts of forgery for allegedly altering the HOA’s treasurer reports and six counts of computer tampering for allegedly accessing ATM machines under fraudulent pretenses.
Byram is scheduled to be back in court Wednesday because prosecutors have asked Judge James Marner to place a pre-conviction $204,000 lien on his house, which has been sold and is scheduled to close early next month. The prosecutors say Byram has no other assets.
Byram was arrested in April after walking into the Green Valley substation of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department to say he stole $180,000 from the HOA.
Bill Copeland, the HOA’s president, said at the time that he went to Chase Bank with past-president Carl Schuster to be added to the bank account. While they were there, they realized the account balance “didn’t ring true,” Copeland said.
After looking over three years of bank statements, Byram was confronted and admitted to taking the money for his business, Copeland told deputies. An audit was launched to determine how much was stolen.
In an email Wednesday to the Green Valley News, Copeland said, “I’m pleased that the detective completed his work and that the legal process is now underway. This has been a difficult time for our homeowners association.”
He declined to comment about the financial impact on the HOA or whether the event has led to changes in how the HOA is run.
Byram is represented by Pima County Public Defender Nathan Wade, who did not return a call seeking comment.
Kim Smith | 547-9740