Crime

North Myrtle Beach businessman arrested after stealing thousands from HOA, police say

Rental agency’s alleged embezzlement scheme smears reputation of separate business

Ocean Keyes Development sold its North Myrtle Beach rental agency, Keye Beach Rentals, to Walter Pigg last May. Now the company says his alleged embezzlement scheme has sullied their reputation.
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Ocean Keyes Development sold its North Myrtle Beach rental agency, Keye Beach Rentals, to Walter Pigg last May. Now the company says his alleged embezzlement scheme has sullied their reputation.

A North Myrtle Beach businessman, already under fire for allegedly embezzling close to $100,000 from clients over the last year, found himself in jail last week after stealing thousands from a Homeowners Association for personal use, according to an arrest warrant.

North Myrtle Beach police arrested Walter Pigg, 39, on June 7 and booked him at J. Reuben Long Detention Center that afternoon. He was released the next day on $10,000 bond.

According to the warrant, Pigg failed to deposit funds from the Island Palms Homeowners Association into a nonprofit account, an account he was entrusted with managing and safekeeping, at BB&T Bank between September and December last year. Pigg instead withdrew more than $17,000 through an ATM and debit purchases, without HOA approval, to spend at The Big “M” Casino in Little River and Harrah’s Casino in Cherokee, North Carolina, the warrant states.

While Pigg is being charged with breach of trust with fraudulent intent, he has been under investigation by North Myrtle Beach, S.C. Law Enforcement Division and other agencies for several months, according to North Myrtle Beach Public Safety Director Jay Fernandez.

The investigation began when North Myrtle Beach officials received nearly three dozen complaints earlier this year outlining Pigg’s alleged misconduct and unethical business practices since purchasing Keye Beach Rentals, a 55-unit rental agency located at 601 Hillside Drive, last May.

Pigg officially closed his agency in February after his property manager’s license was suspended by the S.C. Real Estate Commission. Pigg later surrendered his business license to the city.

MYB_0227keyrentals01
Keye Beach Rentals in North Myrtle Beach has been closed after the owner surrendered his business license. Walter Pigg is under investigation after allegedly embezzling close to $100,000 from property owners and renters. Feb 22, 2019. Jason Lee jlee@thesunnews.com

About a dozen property owners who rented condos to Keye Beach Rentals told The Sun News in February how Pigg failed to pay them on time when he first bought the business, and later refused to pay them altogether. Pigg also restricted owners from overseeing rental activity, double-booked units, charged renters higher rates without the condo owners knowledge, and left units dirty despite charging owners for cleaning services, owners told The Sun News.

Owners added how Pigg continued to showcase their rentals and make reservations through the Keye Beach Rentals website even after losing his license and owners taking their business to another rental agency and changing their locks.

The Sun News also spoke with several vacationers renting condos through Keye Beach Rentals who arrived on various weekends to the vacant rental agency only to discover they had nowhere to stay despite having their long vacations paid in full. Vacationers traveling from New York, Ohio, Michigan and Canada said they rent condos annually and planned their vacations a year in advance.

According to police reports filed from January through April, vacationers also found their credit cards were repeatedly charged but their reservation was either canceled, double-booked or the unit was no longer associated with Keye Beach Rentals.

The Sun News spoke to Pigg’s lawyer, Kirk Truslow, back in February, when he attested that Pigg had done nothing wrong and those who filed complaints were seeking vengeance.

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