Living Rent-Free

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The Section 8 Housing program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), is the federal government’s program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly and the disabled afford safe and decent housing in the private market. Public Housing Agencies (PHAs), administer the federal funding through housing choice vouchers at the local level. Once a renter finds housing that meets the PHA’s minimum standards of health and safety, a subsidy is paid to the landlord on behalf of the renter. The renter is then responsible for paying the difference between the actual rent owed to the landlord and the amount of the subsidy. To determine if an applicant is eligible for the federally funded housing benefit, the PHA collects personal information such as income, assets and current employment. A story reported on nj.com describes the case of a New Jersey man who neglected to tell the truth about his income, while collecting $60,000 in rent subsidies over a five-year period.

The story details how a 32-year-old Newark man’s wife received the subsidies while living rent-free in a multi-family house owned by the husband. (How convenient to live with the landlord.) The couple allegedly agreed to keep this quiet from the Newark Housing Authority (NHA), who administers the program, so authorities say they did not report that the husband was living with the wife and was earning household income. (That would disqualify her from the program.)

The man pleaded guilty to conspiring to fraudulently obtain housing vouchers. He was sentenced to three months behind bars and two years of supervised release. He was also ordered to repay the $60,000. The wife has not been charged, but the investigation is still open.

The man, who was formerly employed in law enforcement, resigned from his job as part of his plea deal. However, it appears that he bounced back quickly and now runs a local courier service. Couriers are known to be quick, so let’s hope he’ll be speedy in paying back the debt he owes to the taxpayers.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on the article titled, ”Former Newark Cop Jailed for Section 8 Fraud Scheme,” written by Steve Strunsky and published on nj.com on August 12, 2013.

NEWARK— A former Newark police officer was sentenced to three months in prison Today, after he admitted conspiring to cheat taxpayers out of $60,000 in federal rent subsidies his wife received despite living with him rent-free in a house he owned, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman announced.

The former officer, 32-year-old Suliaman Kamara of Newark, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Newark on May 8, admitting to a single count of conspiring to fraudulently obtain so-called Section 8 vouchers from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, for five years ending in 2011.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.