Paradise Spa HOA raided by state and federal authorities
An update on a Contact 13 investigation: several law enforcement agencies teamed up for a raid today at Paradise Spa.
It's a residential complex on the south end of the strip near the Southpoint, and its homeowner association was inducted late last year in Contact 13's HOA Hall of Shame.
Chief Investigator Darcy Spears has been investigating this HOA for months and first broke the story that led up to today's raid.
Investigators from the Attorney General's office and the FBI, assisted by Metro, were looking for one man and the money he allegedly embezzled from the homeowner association.
Our cameras watched as investigators carted out hard drives while serving a search warrant at the Paradise Spa HOA office, looking for an electronic trail leading back to Aaron Yashoafar.
The Beverly Hills millionaire is the HOA board treasurer.
His companies own most of the Paradise Spa units.
But the complex has been mired in lawsuits and allegations of missing money for nearly a year.
"We don't know exactly but there's at least probably close to $2 million dollars missing of HOA funds that aren't accounted for," said Cary Belkin, a Paradise Spa HOA board member.
We asked HOA President Jim Pazargad, who was briefly handcuffed this morning before authorities let him go, what they told him.
"They said it's regarding the money that came from the insurance company to rebuild those two burned buildings."
"That still haven't' been rebuilt," Spears confirmed.
"Right. Haven't been rebuilt. And Aaron was responsible for that, of course."
As Contact 13 first reported, two of Paradise Spa's buildings caught fire in 2010 and were subsequently condemned.
Iris Hokanson owns one of the burned units.
"I'm still paying my mortgage. I don't want to have it foreclosed on so I'm still current on my mortgage."
"And there are several other people still paying their mortgage on a burned out unit and it's just wrong. And I think that's what the Attorney General is looking at," said former State Senator and current Paradise Spa homeowner Bill O'Donnell.
Pazargad tells us Aaron Yashoafar took the insurance money and kept it.
"I told him, I advised him, I said listen, you're in deep trouble. And you're gonna get us in trouble. Please come forward and put that money back."
Some residents have other worries as they watch the commotion at their complex.
Sadilia Foster found an eviction notice on her door this morning, demanding the rent she paid six days ago to the very office that's being raided.
"Where am I gonna live if I lose my apartment? I mean, I paid my rent and why am I faced with an eviction? That's what I want to know."
"You're wondering what they did with your money?" Spears asked.
"Yes. I've always wondered that. But I don't know what's going on. Everybody's in the dark."
We called Mr. Yashoafar at both his home and office in Los Angeles but he didn't returned our calls.
Neither did the FBI.
And a spokesperson for the Attorney General said they won't comment, because of the ongoing investigation.
This case originated with a lengthy complaint that O'Donnell and several other Paradise Spa residents filed nearly a year ago with the Real Estate Division Ombudsman's office.
They put the case together and when they discovered evidence of possible criminal activity, they brought in the Attorney General.