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Capitola vacation rental business owner faces criminal embezzlement, financial misconduct charges – Santa Cruz Sentinel

CAPITOLA — After months of complaints and private lawsuits, the owner of a property management and beach house rental company in Capitola has been charged with numerous counts of financial abuse and embezzlement.

In a criminal complaint filed Tuesday in Santa Cruz Superior Court, the Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office alleges that Dolores “Dede” Harrington allegedly committed financial abuse and embezzlement against two named women; plus additional embezzlement charges related to four named men. Harrington is also charged with two counts of bad check writing, involving sums of approximately $11,521 and $10,000. The charges cover a period from early 2020 to August 2022.

Harrington’s Beach House Rentals had been dealing in high-end vacation rentals, homes, condos, cabins and townhouses since 2004, according to its website, Beach-Houserentals.com. Visits to the company’s website show no listings, and its phone number appears to have been disconnected Thursday.

Officers from the Capitola Police Department, accompanied by officers from the District Attorney’s Office, arrested Harrington, owner of Beach House Rentals LLC at 312 Capitola Ave., on Oct. 5 at a Woolsey Circle residence, according to the department.

According to court records, Harrington was released on $10,000 bail the same day. Harrington is due to be arraigned in Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge Stephen Siegel at 8:15 a.m. on November 1. There are five other civil breach of contract lawsuits, each filed against Harrington in 2022, active in Santa Cruz County Superior Court, according to court records.

In recent weeks, Bonny Doon’s owner, Nicole Anderson, has contacted the Sentinel to raise concerns about her rental experiences with Beach House Rentals after her home was destroyed in the CZU Lightning Complex fire. August 2020. After spending a “wonderful stay” in a temporary home from Beach House Rentals from July 2021 to July 2022, Anderson said she received confirmation that she would be receiving a check in the mail for $6,435 $ refunding his deposit.

“Unfortunately the check never came and they remained silent,” Anderson wrote in a Sept. 24 email to the Sentinel.

Anderson, who is staying in Chicago, said she posted her story on Facebook and heard of a similar experience from another survivor of the Bonny Doon fire.

“Had to go to their office and stay outside until someone came out (they locked the door and pretended not to be there),” Anderson wrote of his efforts to get his deposit back. from Beach House Rentals. “Anyway, I’m exhausted. I fought insurance for two years, and now the county, the last thing I need as a fire survivor is a local business to put me through this. It’s illegal for them to hold my money like that.

According to a press release posted on social media by the Capitola Police Department, Harrington’s arrest stems from an ongoing, collective investigation into vacation rental scams. Partner agencies included the Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office, the Santa Cruz Anti-Crime Squad, and the California Department of Real Estate. Capitola Police are urging those with additional information related to the case or who may be victims of crime to call their non-emergency dispatch number, 831-471-1141.