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25 January 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Marcos Daniel Jimé…

25 January 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Marcos Daniel Jiménez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; and Kenneth M. Donohue, Inspector General, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of Inspector General, announced today the arrests of seven (7) defendants on federal housing fraud charges and the unsealing of the Indictments charging each of the defendants.

Arrested today were defendants, Amy Willis, Missia Lee, Ronald Amira, Rhonda Sims, Sandra Love, Kandis Roberts, and Lakeisha Veargis. The defendants are separately charged in Indictments pending in the Southern District of Florida, in Miami, Florida, with multiple counts of theft of federal subsidized housing funds and providing false statements to the government, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641, and Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001, respectively. These cases are part of a nationwide effort to combat fraud and corruption in the federal Section 8 subsidized housing program. Collectively, the defendants, all participants in the Section 8 subsidized housing program, are alleged to have defrauded HUD of over $139,000 in Section 8 housing subsidy payments.

Mr. Jiménez said, “Families in need are the ultimate victims of theft of subsidized housing funds. Our Office is committed to holding accountable anyone who steals such funds.”

Mr. Donohue said, “HUD OIG will continue to force public assistance violators out of federal programs and make room for families in need.”

Willis is named in a forty-three (43) count Indictment, which charges her with four (4) felony and thirty-eight (38) misdemeanor counts of theft of government funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641, and one (1) felony count of making materially false statements in connection with applications for housing assistance from the Hialeah Housing Authority, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001(a)(2). As charged in the Indictment, Willis falsely represented to the Hialeah Housing Authority that she was residing in her subsidized unit and that she was unemployed. If convicted on the theft counts, Willis faces maximum statutory terms of imprisonment of ten (10) years on each felony theft count and one (1) year on each misdemeanor theft count. If convicted on the false statement count, Willis faces a maximum statutory term of imprisonment of five (5) years. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Alicia Shick.

Lee is named in a thirty-three (33) count Indictment, which charges her with one (1) felony count and twenty-eight (28) counts of theft of government funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641; and four (4) felony counts of making materially false statements in connection with applications for housing assistance from the Miami-Dade Housing Agency, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001(a)(2). As charged in the Indictment, Lee concealed employment and income information from the Miami-Dade Housing Agency. If convicted on the theft counts, Lee faces maximum statutory terms of imprisonment of ten (10) years on the felony theft count and one (1) year on each misdemeanor theft count. If convicted on the false statement counts, Lee faces a maximum statutory term of imprisonment of five (5) years per count. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Axelrod.

Amira is named in an Indictment, which charges him with eleven (11) counts of theft of government funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641, in connection with housing assistance payments received from the Miami-Dade Housing Agency. If convicted on the theft counts, which are misdemeanor charges, Amira faces a maximum statutory term of imprisonment of one (1) year per count. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Scott Ray.

Sims is named in an eleven (11) count Indictment, which charges her with ten (10) counts of theft of government funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641; and one (1) count of use of fraudulent documents in connection with the Miami-Dade Housing Agency, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001(a)(3). As charged in the Indictment, Sims diverted housing assistance payments intended for the landlord. In December 2001, Sims allegedly submitted to the Miami-Dade Housing Agency an owner change of address notification purportedly signed by her landlord so that future payments would be mailed to the claimed new address. If convicted on the theft counts, which are misdemeanor charges, Sims faces a maximum statutory term of imprisonment of one (1) year imprisonment per count. If convicted on the use of fraudulent documents count, Sims faces a maximum statutory term of imprisonment of five (5) years. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Andrea Hoffman.

Love is named in a twenty-six (26) count Indictment, which charges her with twenty-four (24) counts of theft of government funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641; and two (2) counts of making materially false statements in connection with applications for housing assistance from the Miami-Dade Housing Agency, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001(a)(2). As charged in the Indictment, Love concealed the fact that her household, in addition to her and her four (4) children, included her spouse. If convicted on the theft counts, Love faces maximum statutory terms of imprisonment of ten (10) years on each of the nine (9) felony theft counts and one (1) year on each of the fifteen (15) misdemeanor theft counts. If convicted on the false statement counts, Love faces a maximum statutory term of imprisonment of five (5) years per count. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ryan Stumphauzer.

Roberts is named in a thirty-two (32) count Indictment, charging her with twenty-eight (28) counts of theft of government funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641; and four (4) counts of making materially false statements in connection with applications for housing assistance from the Broward County Housing Authority, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001(a)(2). As charged in the Indictment, Roberts concealed her co-ownership of her residence from the Broward County Housing Authority in order to qualify for the program. If convicted on the theft counts, Roberts faces maximum statutory terms of imprisonment of ten (10) years on each of the ten (10) felony theft counts and one (1) year on each of the eighteen (18) misdemeanor theft counts. If convicted on the false statement counts, Roberts faces a maximum statutory term of imprisonment of five (5) years per count. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Korver.

Veargis is named in thirty-one(31) count Indictment, charging her with twenty-nine (29) counts of theft of government funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641; and two (2) counts of making materially false statements in connection with applications for housing assistance from the Miami-Dade Housing Agency, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001(a)(2). As alleged in the Indictment, Veargis concealed employment income information, as well as her ownership of real property, on applications for continued housing assistance. If convicted on the theft counts, Veargis faces a maximum statutory term of imprisonment of one (1) year per count. If convicted on the false statement counts, Veargis faces a maximum statutory term of imprisonment of five (5) years per count. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark Lapointe.

Mr. Jiménez commended the investigative efforts of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, as well as the assistance provided by the Miami-Dade County Housing Agency, Broward County Housing Authority, and Hialeah Housing Authority, U.S. Marshal Service, Miami-Dade Police Department, Broward County Sheriff’s Office, City of Miami Police Department, Pinecrest Police Department, and Pembroke Pines Police Department.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls . Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on .

British MP George Galloway and his opponent the Daily Telegraph will leave no stone unturned to sort out what could be a spectacular libel case.