US Attorney Reports Former Florida City Housing Director Convicted

R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Robert Parker, Director, Miami-Dade Police Department and Michael V. Powell, Special Agent in Charge, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Internal Investigations, announced that defendant Matthew Price II, the former Director of Housing and Economic Development for Florida City, pled guilty to a conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud which deprived the citizens of Florida City, Florida of his honest services. A federal grand jury had indicted Price and co-defendant Jennifer Stimpson for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section 1349, as well as substantive mail and wire fraud violations, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Sections 1341, 1343, and 1346.

Price faces a statutory maximum of 20 years’ imprisonment for the conspiracy as well as a fine, and mandatory restitution. Sentencing has been set for April 11, 2008 at 9:00 a.m.

According to the facts adduced during the plea colloquy, Price admitted that he conspired to obtain a mortgage for his personal residence when he could not qualify for financing, using a straw purchaser who was a Florida City employee. The scheme also included efforts to use Price’s official position as Director of Housing and Economic Development to reward Stimpson and the straw purchaser for their assistance. This was accomplished by selling Florida City property at a depressed price, allowing for its re-sale at a substantial profit, and by providing affordable housing and grant money to the straw purchaser who did not qualify for those benefits. Price acknowledged funding the straw purchase of his home with funds from a contractor doing business with Florida City who was also the recipient of grant money received through Florida City.

Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the Miami-Dade Police Department and HUD – OIG. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Karen Rochlin and Alejandro Soto.

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 http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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