Rental firm criminal case moving forward
On Wednesday, police and prosecutors met to discuss the ongoing criminal investigation of the Truckee-based Vacation Property Management.
Afterward, a Nevada County deputy district attorney said he will make a decision whether or not to file criminal charges against the rental firm’s owner by the end of the year.
If the investigation ends with a criminal complaint, it will be the second time that Nevada County has lodged charges against Vacation Property Management’s owner, Dean Clark.
In early May, Deputy District Attorney Bill Cornell filed six felony charges against Clark when clients complained that checks issued by the company bounced. But the indictment was put “on hold” while Clark tried to make good on the bad checks.
Clark’s attorney, Peter Tiemann of Placerville, told investigators at the time that the bounced checks were the result of an honest mistake with the company’s bank accounts. When Clark later covered the checks, the district attorney’s office dropped the felony charges.
But investigators continued to receive complaints about the company’s business practices from unhappy clients, many saying that Vacation Property Management had failed to return security deposits within the required period, or had not paid rental fees owed them.
Cornell said investigators have received “in excess of 50 complaints.”
On Wednesday, Cornell met with Truckee Police Detective Bill Mardison to review the voluminous evidence to narrow down the list of potential victims.
Cornell said he is focusing on claims involving a substantial amount of money, from $1,000 to $10,000. Additionally, investigators are most interested in homeowners who have receipts or written documentation of the insufficient payments.
“We’re in the stage of refining the list of potential victims,” Cornell said on Thursday. “I hope to have [the case] move forward by the end of the year.”
Cornell said Clark’s defense has been that he was a “poor business man,” who lost money due a shortage of ski leases during the past two winters.
However, Cornell said other rental companies in the area had not experienced anything close to the financial shortfalls that Clark claimed Vacation Property Management had suffered.
“I will cover anything I believe I can prove,” Cornell said in an interview before Wednesday’s meeting. “There will be a criminal filing before long.”
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