Police say the president of a McKenzie County homeowners association embezzled nearly $30,000 from the association.

Russell Winchester, 55, was charged Wednesday with making deceptive writings in excess of $10,000, theft of between $10,000 and $50,000 and forgery of between $10,000 and $50,000, all class B felonies. He was ordered held Wednesday on $100,000 bond.

Winchester, who was the president of the Buffalo Hills Homeowners Association, is accused of making fraudulent transactions totally $28,081.20 over the course of more than a year, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed in Northwest District Court. The transactions included $11,000 to American Express and more than $2,000 to Verizon.

The treasurer of the homeowners association went to the McKenzie County Sheriff’s Office on Monday to report the embezzlement, court records indicate. She told officers that when she had asked Winchester for the association’s books, he was reluctant to hand them over.

Winchester eventually admitted to the treasurer that he had taken the money and that he had created false bank statements, charging documents state. Winchester told the woman that he was leaving for Utah to start a new job.

“(The woman) stated that she has multiple emails from Winchester stating that he will pay the money back,” an officer wrote in the affidavit of probable case.

Winchester is scheduled to be back in court on Sept. 13 for a preliminary hearing.



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