Brooksville apartment manager charged with keeping rent money

BROOKSVILLE — A longtime manager of a Brooksville apartment complex has been charged with grand theft for keeping nearly $5,000 in rent money and deposits, police said.

Donnamaria Lopez, 46, was arrested Thursday after Brooksville police determined she embezzled $4,952.50 from Oak Park Apartments. According to an arrest affidavit, Lopez leased two vacant apartments in October but didn't tell owner Robert Buckner.

Buckner contacted police after he visited the complex at 460 Hale Ave. and discovered tenants in two units that Lopez told him were vacant, the affidavit states. When Buckner inquired, Lopez replied that the tenants had moved in earlier this month.

After her arrest, Lopez admitted to the scheme, police said.

"The defendant stated that she was having financial hardships and used the money she took for child care and medical bills," the affidavit states.

She was booked into the Hernando County Detention Center and released later Thursday after posting $2,000 bail, records show.

No one answered the phone at the complex on Friday.

Lopez started the job in December 2003, according to a 2004 Times story that chronicled her efforts to clean up the complex and rid it of drugs and prostitutes.

Lopez found herself at the center of controversy in 2007 when she and four other Brooksville Housing Authority board members were ousted. Council members determined that the board had allowed the authority's two apartment complexes to fall into disrepair, then bungled efforts to improve them.

Reach Tony Marrero at tmarrero@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1431. Follow @tmarrerotimes and @hernandotimes on Twitter.

Brooksville apartment manager charged with keeping rent money 03/22/13 [Last modified: Friday, March 22, 2013 7:33pm]

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