Home | En Español | Contact Us | A to Z 

HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 98-199
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685Wednesday
Or contact your local HUD officeMay 20, 1998


WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced that a man and a woman convicted in the theft of nearly $11,000 from the Denver Housing Authority have been barred from doing business with the federal government, as part of HUD's continuing crackdown on waste, fraud and abuse.

Cuomo said HUD has taken the debarment action against Denver real estate broker John A. Bivins and against Belinda F. Olden, a former accounting clerk for the Denver Housing Authority. Bivins was debarred for three years and Olden was debarred for five years.

"Our message to anyone trying to rip off HUD is simple: don't even think about it," Cuomo said. "If you rob taxpayer dollars from the Department, we will find you, we will stop you, and we will act against you with the full force the law allows."

Olden took nine checks totaling $10,913 written by the Denver Housing Authority that were intended to go to landlords who provide low-income housing for local residents. Instead of transmitting the checks to landlords, she gave them to Bivins who deposited them in his own account. Bivins later gave half the money to Olden, who was his former employee.

The scam was discovered after landlords began complaining that they had not received their checks.

For their participation in this fraudulent activity, Bivins was convicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado for theft of government funds. He received probation for four years and was required to pay restitution of $8,554. Olden was convicted of embezzlement. She was sentenced to five years probation and required to pay restitution of $8,554.

HUD provides funds to public housing authorities around the country to help fund housing for low- and moderate-income families. Some of these federal funds are dispersed to landlords in the form of rental assistance subsidies.

Cuomo launched the "Get Tough" initiative to crack down on waste, fraud, and abuse in HUD programs in March 1997 in partnership with the Justice Department.

A recent report on HUD's Get Tough Initiative found that:

  • HUD dramatically increased the number of debarment actions against bad landlords to 122 in 1997 - an increase of over 300 percent from 1996, when just 30 landlords were subject to debarment action that stopped them from doing business with federal agencies for varying numbers of years.

  • HUD and the Justice Department worked with the HUD Inspector General's Office, the Treasury Department and state and local governments to nearly double the number of civil cases and settlements resulting in recoveries against landlords of HUD-assisted housing last year. The number of such cases grew to 46 in 1997 - up from 24 in 1996.

  • HUD and the Justice Department recovered nearly $25 million in money owed to HUD by landlords as a result of the above actions in 1997 - up from about $18 million the year before.

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

FOIA Privacy Web Policies and Important Links [logo: Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity]
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
451 7th Street S.W.
Washington, DC 20410
Telephone: (202) 708-1112 TTY: (202) 708-1455