|HUD No. 06-083
July 13, 2006
HUD SECRETARY LAUDS INDIANAPOLIS HOUSING AGENCY FOR COMBATING FRAUD OF FEDERAL HOUSING PROGRAMS
Criminal charges filed today against 51 ineligible participants in Section 8 Voucher Program
INDIANAPOLIS - In an effort to illustrate HUD's commitment to combat fraud in federal programs, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson joined officials with the Indianapolis Housing Agency (IHA), the Marion County Prosecutors Office and HUD's Office of Inspector General to announce that criminal charges have been filed today against 51 individuals for abusing HUD's Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8) Program. The persons charged today are accused of illegally receiving payments while they were not eligible for the assistance.
"HUD is serious about eliminating Section 8 fraud," said Jackson who was joined at a press conference by IHA Executive Director Bud Myers, Chief Trial Deputy David Wyser from the Marion County Prosecutor's Office and HUD OIG Special Agent Barry McLaughlin. "Indianapolis has been a model of the focused, long-term effort that's needed across the country."
The charges filed today are part of a long-term initiative of the agencies to combat fraud within the housing program. This has resulted in charging 231 persons from April 2001 to July 2006 and investigators identifying $2.1 million in fraudulent Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) payments.
Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi said, "We greatly appreciate all of the hard work by the Indianapolis Housing Agency in investigating these cases and bringing them to us. It goes to show how an instance of fraud can lead to much more serious events."
Myers said, "The Indianapolis Housing Agency is proud to have HUD's Secretary Jackson in our city at the same time the agency is announcing the arrest of persons charged of fraudulently obtaining taxpayer dollars. Those dollars will now be used to house deserving families who legally qualify for their intended purpose."
HUD's Inspector General Kenneth Donohue said, "The waiting list for Section 8 rental subsidies in Marion County and Indianapolis is long. The HUD Office of Inspector General's efforts to remove ineligible people from these apartments is making room for the truly deserving families of Indianapolis and is something that we should all support."
Jackson applauded the agencies for combining their resources to aggressively pursue individuals who defraud the federal rental assistance program that helps millions of deserving families annually.
Five years ago Myers created IHA's Office of Special Investigations (OSI), which began an aggressive initiative to stamp out fraud that was hindering the agency's efforts to assist families who rely on this funding to provide safe, decent housing. Since its inception and partnership with HUD's OIG there have been criminal charges filed against 231 individuals, including the charges filed today, by the Office of the Marion County Prosecuting Attorney. Those charges have included recipients, landlords, public servants and non-recipients.
HUD's OIG and the Office of Public and Indian Housing are working with public housing authorities (PHAs) nationwide to aggressively crack down on individuals who abuse its programs.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development, and enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.