A former property manager in Centennial has been ordered to pay more than $2 million to a commercial landlord who accused him of embezzling the money over five years.
Shaun “Kealy” Roberts, 54, was directed by Arapahoe District Court Judge Elizabeth Volz to pay $2.08 million to Hamid Simantob of Aurora on June 12. The judge’s order was a default judgment, because Roberts has been ignoring Simantob’s lawsuit since January.
Roberts similarly did not respond to BusinessDen’s attempts to contact him last week.
According to Simantob, Roberts was hired in 2002 to be the property manager for Simantob’s constellation of local companies, which own a warehouse at 2501 Welton St. in Five Points, a shopping center in Aurora and an industrial site in Northglenn. The companies also include remodeling, construction and real estate investment firms, court records show.
For 20 years, Roberts was the primary contact for Simantob’s tenants and the bookkeeper for his companies. He collected checks, cashed checks and wrote checks, Simantob said.
Two days before New Year’s 2023, Simantob was contacted by the fraud department at Independent Financial Bank in Denver. The bank had questions about a $42,000 check that had been written by one of his companies and made payable to Kealy Roberts.
From there, according to Simantob, Roberts’ embezzlement scheme quickly unraveled.
Reviewing his companies’ bank statements and books, Simantob found that Roberts had been printing company checks, making them payable to himself, and forging Simantob’s signature on them, according to Simantob. Roberts used the money to pay off mortgages on two houses and cover the credit card bills for himself and one of his girlfriends, his former boss said.
On Dec. 29, the day that Independent Financial Bank noticed the unusual check and alerted Simantob, Roberts used $23,000 in stolen money to buy one girlfriend a Jeep, according to the lawsuit that was filed four weeks later. Roberts was fired that same day.
“Mr. Simantob and (his) companies are still in the process of discovering all of Roberts’ various schemes to embezzle money,” Simantob’s lawyers wrote the next month.
Charissa Hammer, a forensic accountant hired by Simantob to investigate Roberts’ alleged embezzlement, said in an affidavit last month that the thefts totaled about $2 million.
“Mr. Roberts embezzled $1,890,668 in cash from the Simha Group by making checks payable to himself, and significantly altering and forging documents to disguise his theft,” according to her affidavit, which BusinessDen obtained in an open records request.
That total does not include falsified payroll checks that cost Simantob another $67,455 or personal purchases on the companies’ Home Depot credit card totaling $69,372.
Hammer said she found 216 checks that Roberts wrote to himself between December 2017 and December 2022. The smallest check was $1,750 and the largest was $85,000, according to a spreadsheet of the checks obtained by BusinessDen in a records request.
After filing the lawsuit, Simantob and his lawyers then struggled to get it to the defendant.
In March, they asked Volz for more time to serve Roberts, after a private investigator they’d hired couldn’t find him, despite staking out his house for hours. Simantob’s lawyers also sent a process server to the home of Roberts’ second girlfriend in Minnesota, to no avail.
In April, convinced that Roberts was evading investigators and process servers, Volz allowed Simantob’s attorneys to leave the lawsuit with Roberts’ girlfriend in Centennial. When Roberts ignored the lawsuit for two months after that, Volz entered her judgment last week.
Simantob was represented by Phillip Parrott and Margaret Pflueger with the Denver law firm Campbell, Killin, Brittan & Ray. They declined to comment on the judgment.