Embezzlement case handed over to DA | SierraSun.com

Embezzlement case handed over to DA

Sierra Countis
Sierra Sun

The Truckee Police Department has referred the case of alleged embezzlement by Vacation Property Management of Truckee to the Nevada County District Attorney’s office.

The decision on whether to file any civil or criminal charges against the home rental company is now in the hands of the county prosecutor, said Truckee Police Detective Bill Mardison, who has been the lead investigator on the case.

Mardison said he submitted his findings about the embezzlement complaints to the district attorney last week.

In recent weeks, police have received about seven insufficient funds checks signed by Vacation Property Management, as well as about 70 complaints from homeowners and renters claiming they hadn’t received payment from the business in months, Mardison said.

“A lot of people are frustrated,” he said. “There’s a lot of information to get through.”

Officers used a search warrant to seize computers and records March 13, investigating the company owned by Dean A. Clark the past three years for possible embezzlement. The firm’s computers will be held as evidence at the police department until the case is resolved, Mardison said.

When asked Tuesday if Clark was available to comment on the allegations, Vacation Property Management spokesperson Rosie Pedroza said the owner would be out of the office for two weeks.

“They’re not doing any interviews,” Pedroza said.

Truckee police have not been in contact with Clark either. The Washington-based owner sent a letter via his attorney to the department, stating he did not wish to speak about the case. Mardison said the district attorney advised police not to contact Vacation Property Management.

Mardison said he will continue to take calls from homeowners and renters regarding claims against Vacation Property Management.

“Only time will tell if people start receiving checks or not,” Mardison said.

In the meantime, one homeowner has begun her own investigation.

Suzan Knisley, who has owned a cabin in Tahoe Donner for 25 years, said she wants to see that she and other potential victims receive the money owed to them from the business. The part-time Truckee resident said she signed a contract with Vacation Property Management last fall to lease her cabin through the ski season.

When Knisley didn’t receive an expected $6,200 rent check from Vacation Property Management in January as scheduled, she said she called the office to inquire about the delay.

“They said they’re just behind and I’ll be receiving it soon,” Knisley said.

And when the rent check arrived in her mailbox in March, Knisley said it bounced when she tried to cash it. Vacation Property Management told her its bank account had been frozen due to the police investigation, Knisley said.

Knisley said she believes “it’s fraud to write a check and not have the money to pay for it.”

The homeowner said she called Truckee police and immediately faxed a copy of her canceled check to the department. Knisley said she stopped by the home rental office last week, but was told by an office employee that Clark wasn’t available. She has yet to receive a call from him, Knisley said.

“As far as I’m concerned, they’re lying to everyone,” Knisley said.

Knisley filed a small claims case against Clark at the Nevada County Superior Courthouse in Truckee, along with several other clients of Vacation Property Management, she said.