Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Former president of Clearwater condo association accused of fraud

CLEARWATER — A former president of a condominium association was arrested on fraud charges Friday after police said she swindled nearly $300,000 by trying to sell condos that were in foreclosure or off the market.

Barbara Lockett, 49, a licensed real estate broker, is charged with scheme to defraud.

Police say Lockett told Dunedin businesswoman Kelly Choi that 22 condos at the Mission Hills Condominiums were good investments and open for sale. Lockett said she would help Choi, 48, complete paperwork and deal with the banks and told Choi where she could wire her money.

"She suggested she would teach me how to be an investor," Choi said. "I trusted her completely."

As months passed, Choi began questioning why the owners were slow to respond. Lockett made excuses, blaming the slow economy, Choi said. That's when Choi contacted the owners, who told her they knew nothing of the deals, she said.

Half of the condos, property records showed, had outstanding mortgages or were in foreclosure. The other half were owned and not listed for sale.

Detectives say they learned later that Choi's payments were moving directly into Lockett's personal account. Choi said some of the money also went into Lockett's business, BODO Enterprises.

Lockett was arrested about 5 p.m. Friday and taken to the Pinellas County Jail, where her bail was assessed at $100,000. Police say there may be additional victims.

Mission Hills, a sprawling complex south of Coachman Road and east of U.S. 19, has more than 400 condos for residents 55 years old or older.

Lockett, who also went by the name Diane, was president of the Mission Hills association's board of directors, presiding over more than $2 million in association fees. Shortly after Choi's police report last year, the board asked her to resign.

"I don't want her to hurt another person," Choi said. "Each of those condos I was involved in, she deceived someone on the other end."

Contact Drew Harwell at (727) 445-4170 or

Former president of Clearwater condo association accused of fraud 05/27/11 [Last modified: Friday, May 27, 2011 10:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 10 sailors missing, 5 hurt in collision of USS John S. McCain

    SEOUL —Ten U.S. Navy sailors are missing and five have been injured after the USS John S. McCain destroyer collided with an oil tanker near Singapore early Monday morning.

    In this Jan. 22, 2017, photo provided by U.S. Navy, the USS John S. McCain patrols in the South China Sea while supporting security efforts in the region. The guided-missile destroyer collided with a merchant ship on Monday, Aug. 21, in waters east of Singapore and the Straits of Malacca. Ten sailors were missing, and five were injured, the Navy said. [James Vazquez/U.S. Navy via AP]
  2. Pasco County Fire Rescue fighting a two-alarm fire started by an explosion


    Two houses are on fire and one victim has been critically burned and taken to a trauma center following an explosion at a home at 8652 Velvet Dr, in Port Richey.

  3. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  4. Bucs counting on better health creating better pass rush


    TAMPA — Ask Bucs coaches about the improved depth and health of their defensive line, and they'll look around for a piece of wood to knock on.

    Retired All-Pro defensive end  Simeon Rice, right, the last Buc to have double-digit sacks in a season,  works with defensive end Ryan Russell, who last season was promoted from the practice squad for the second half of the year as injuries piled up. He is competing for a backup job this year.
  5. Tampa man turns himself in for Sunday hit and run fatality

    Public Safety

    A Tampa man was arrested early Sunday after he struck and killed a pedestrian, left the scene, and then called 911 to turn himself in.