Nearly half a million dollars missing from Richmond housing cooperative

Rhode Island State Police investigated a case of missing money in Richmond.
Rhode Island State Police investigated a case of missing money in Richmond.

RICHMOND, RI (WPRI) — The president of the Hillsdale Mobile Home Park was arrested for allegedly taking thousands of dollars from the cooperative, and according to state police the investigation focused on $450,000 in missing funds.

Maria Tavares is facing one count of obtaining money under false pretenses, which according to the criminal complaint involved her allegedly taking $24,000 from the housing cooperative.

Tavares is also charged with conspiracy to obtain money under false pretenses, with the complaint stating she conspired with two men “to commit the crime.” The complaint names the two men, one of whom is an attorney, but they are not charged.

State Police Major Joseph Philbin said the case involved “the alleged defrauding of approximately $450,000 from the Hillsdale Housing Cooperative.”

Tavares answered the door at her Hillsdale home, but said she could not comment on the allegations.

Homeowners in the rural trailer park pay monthly fees to cover maintenance such as snow removal, but the money could also be used for long term improvements to the community.

One resident, who asked not to be identified, said she has lived in the trailer park for 30 years and was shocked by the crime which surfaced in May after Hillsdale boardmembers noticed the money was missing.

Another resident, who said he and other residents were asked by the board not to talk publicly about the incident, said he was surprised the account had $450,000 in it.

“We need to know where it all went,” he said.

Tavares was arrested in June and released on $10,000 bail.

Send tips to Target 12 Investigator Walt Buteau at wbuteau@wpri.com and follow him on Twitter @wbuteau