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N4T Investigators: Former HOA accountant pleads guilty - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

N4T Investigators: Former HOA accountant pleads guilty

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Tucson – A former bookkeeper for a homeowners association pleaded guilty today to using the HOA’s money as his personal piggy bank.

The plea deal was announced in Pima County Superior Court. Former HOA accountant Joshua Bonillas changed his plea from not guilty, admitted he stole $45,000 from the HOA to pay his bills, and agreed to pay it back.

In his first interview since the case became public, Bonillas told the News 4 Tucson Investigators, “I regret the harm I caused to the association, to my family, and I just want to make everything right that I can.”

The 31-year old Tucson resident was the paid accountant for Presidio Villas 2 on the southwest side. After residents saw their neighborhood deteriorating, they checked their bank account. The balance: $28. After sheriff's detectives investigated, Bonillas was charged with 12 felonies, including 10 for forgery, for signing the name of the HOA’s treasurer on association checks.

Bonillas said, “I have three children under five. I was piling up with medical bills, I was a sole breadwinner in the family, I was trying to make ends meet.”

Bonillas' attorney saw the handwriting on the wall, and the checks.

“Unfortunately,” Jesse Smith said, “from a defense point of view, they could go ahead and prove the case. There was a documented paper trail of embezzlement.”

Maryann Kenniger was one of the HOA's original whistle blowers on Bonillas, and is its current secretary-treasurer.

“I'm really happy that he's owning up to the whole thing and he's taking responsibility for it.,” Kenniger said. “I think that the HOA really feels like they don't want to pursue it any further as long as we do get the restitution.”

Bonillas said, “I just hope that I can move forward and really be a better citizen, a better father, and a better husband.”

Bonillas made $60,000 a year from his day job, as an auditor for the Pima County Department of Finance and Risk Management. He was not charged with anything related to that position, and resigned last year while under investigation in the HOA case. He is working now in a private, full-time job and plans to make full restitution. Sentencing is scheduled for April 11.

If you have any story that you would like us to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com or call our tip line at 520-955-4444.

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