Oregon reprimands Bend property manager

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Sherry Hoyer could not track clients’ missing money

The Oregon Real Estate Agency reprimanded a property manager overseeing rentals in Bend and Redmond after she failed to track money that went missing from clients’ accounts.

Sherry Lee Hoyer of First Rate Property Management agreed to and signed a final order listing 10 violations of state statute, including failing to keep complete records and reconcile accounts in a timely way.

In addition to the reprimand, the agency gave Hoyer four months to complete a 27-hour course in property manager advanced practices, according to an order that was finalized Feb. 19 and publicized Monday in the agency’s newsletter.

Hoyer could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The agency’s investigation began in the summer of 2017 during an audit of a clients’ trust account, according to the final order.

A trust account holds money belonging to others that is received or handled by a licensed real estate property manager.

Hoyer told the agency her bookkeeper had recently left the company and stolen money from the trust account.

The order does not name the bookkeeper.

“Our investigation was limited to Hoyer’s actions,” agency spokeswoman Mesheal Heyman said in an email. “Hoyer, or any licensee who suspects an employee is stealing funds, would be responsible for reporting to local authorities.”

Hoyer said she’d employed three different bookkeepers in the past few years and trusted them to reconcile trust accounts, accept rent from tenants, make bank deposits and transfer funds, according to the final order.

She didn’t make a written record of delegating those duties, as required by statute. She also failed to reconcile trust and security deposit accounts within 30 days.

About the missing money, Hoyer told the agency’s investigator that she was prepared to cover the clients’ trust account and presented a cashier’s check for $7,600.

She admitted she hadn’t identified where and when the account came up short. She explained that she compared the bank statements with the owners’ ledgers and thought the gap was as much as $8,000.

On Aug. 1, 2017, Hoyer sent the investigator a deposit slip showing $7,023.31 deposited in the trust account.

She couldn’t provide supporting documentation showing how she identified the missing money and which owners’ ledgers had lost money and were paid back.

Oregon statute requires property managers to account for owners’ funds in a timely manner, among other duties. Hoyer violated several other statutes around keeping complete records and reconciling accounts.

The real estate agency also found problems with Hoyer’s management agreements.

Four agreements going back to 2012 listed the management fee as a percentage of monthly rent but failed to state when the fee would be earned or paid. Nor did Hoyer disclose that she used her husband’s company, Able Property Services, for property maintenance and that she held an interest in the company.

Hoyer has been a licensed property manager associated with First Rate Property Management since November 2007, the real estate agency’s database shows.

Her license expires June 30.

— Reporter: 541-617-7860, kmclaughlin@bendbulletin.com

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