Housing Authority Board Member Commits Fraud (on the Housing Authority)

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Working on the board of the Housing Authority comes with benefits – you have an opportunity to help those who need it most, a chance to do some good for the community, and the promise of making a difference. And that’s exactly the kind of benefits that Brooksville Housing Authority board member Brenda Colondres received, according to this story from the St. Petersburg Times – except that she considered that the person in need was herself. Yes, Colondres was arrested on November 9th and charged with grand theft and public housing assistance fraud. How so? Allegedly falsifying her housing application and residing in low-income housing for four years.

According to the article, Colondres was appointed by the Brooksville City Council to serve a four-year term on the board in May. (Excellent choice…but let’s avoid her also running housing fraud classes.? The article goes on to say that ”the rent averaged about $25, but some months was as low as $15.’? Meanwhile, her live-in boyfriend was employed full-time, and she attended board meetings in that very same housing complex. ”I’m going to have some questions for my director,” said board member Gary Schraut. ”His office is right in the middle of this.”

According to the article, it took the Brooksville police chief, Brooksville police detectives, and investigators with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to uncover the truth – which has now ”expanded to other residents, and more arrests are pending,” the article said. (Now you will see some scrambling.? All told, she received about $13,000 in housing assistance – a very nice benefit, but probably not the kind the City Council had in mind when it appointed her to the board.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, ”Brooksville Housing Authority board member charged with grand theft, fraud,” by Tony Marrero in the St. Petersburg Times, November 10, 2011.

BROOKSVILLE — Brooksville police Chief George Turner came to the Brooksville Housing Authority board meeting last month with a concern.

Turner told the board that two of his officers had recently accompanied a man who was moving out of an apartment at Hillside Estates, one of the authority’s two subsidized housing complexes. The man wanted a police escort because he lived there with the mother of his toddler, and he thought things might get tense, Turner said.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.