South Hampton Homeowners’ Association president Ulysee Davis pleaded to one misdemeanor charge of fraudulent misappropriation Tuesday, the first legal outcome arising from charges brought against Davis and four others for allegedly stealing over $100,000 from the South Hampton Homeowners Association over the course of at least five years.
As part of the plea arrangement, Charles County Circuit Court Judge Amy J. Bragunier deferred Davis’ sentencing pending the establishment of a restitution plan with the HOA by mid-October.
Davis entered the plea the same morning that his jury trial had been scheduled to begin.
The Charles County Sheriff’s Office recommended charges against Davis, his wife, Linda, and daughter, Uniqueka Davis-McKinney, and HOA treasurer Benedicto Afroilan and his wife, Elsa, last October following a 14-month investigation by CCSO’s financial crimes division.
The Charles County State’s Attorney’s Office charged the five co-defendants with felony theft and conspiring to steal in excess of $100,000. In December, a grand jury handed down indictments in the case that included embezzlement charges against Ulysee Davis and Benedicto Afroilan.
The indictments charged Davis and his wife with theft and conspiracy to commit theft of over $100,000. The Afroilans and Davis-McKinney were charged with theft and conspiracy to commit theft of between $10,000 and $100,000.
If convicted, Davis and his wife would have faced up to 25 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. The others could have been sentenced to a maximum of 10 years and a $10,000 fine.
As a result of Davis’ plea, it is expected that the cases against his wife and daughter will be held in abeyance pending the outcome of the restitution agreement with the members of the HOA, and that the Charles County Circuit Court will dismiss all three cases if it deems the agreement has been fulfilled.
The cases against the Afroilans are not affected by Tuesday’s plea.
The five co-defendants have been accused of filtering money stolen from the HOA through multiple accounts in at least three banks, a shell corporation owned by Davis-McKinney and a trash pickup company owned by Elsa Afroilan.
The sheriff’s office investigation involved tracing payments to and from the various bank accounts and the seizure of documents from the Davis and Afroilan residences.
Davis’ attorney Jeffrey Harding of the law firm of Sasscer, Clagett & Bucher argued that when Davis became HOA president in 2005 he inherited a “shambles” and that the arrangements with his family were necessary because Davis had been unable to find a management company willing to take over the HOA’s operations. The lack of available documentation, Harding said, gave the appearance of misappropriation of funds.
“Mr. Davis and I will work hand-in-hand with the homeowner’s association to move forward so that the [HOA] can be put into good shape and [the restitution agreement will] allow them to move forward with the efficient running of the HOA,” Harding told the Maryland Independent. “Everyone is cooperating.”
The Charles County State’s Attorney’s Office did not respond to requests for comment as of press time.
Davis is scheduled to attend a status hearing on Tuesday, May 21. The restitution status hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 16.