Forrest Gump felt life was like a box of chocolates, but some crooks find fraud to be like a potato chip—try one and you just can’t stop. That seemed to be the experience of Tykeese McCray of Iowa. Back in 2011, McCray completed an application for Section 8 housing under the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s jurisdiction. The program is designed to provide rent assistance for people earning low wages. (Not for people just looking to game the system.)
It seems that McCray “missed” a few important details on that application… like her husband (she claimed she was single) and his income, (which, as part of her household income, made her ineligible for the program). (Oh, details, details, details.) She perpetuated the housing assistance fraud year after year, as she failed to mention her husband on the program’s annual recertification forms. Before she was caught, McCray racked up $54,032 in housing assistance she wasn’t entitled to.
But that’s not the half of it. (Literally… it’s not even half of what she stole from government programs.) She also falsified applications for food assistance benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—garnering nearly $32K in food assistance she wasn’t entitled to. On top of that were falsified documents for childcare assistance to the tune of nearly $32K—plus $1,690.46 in Medicaid fraud.
Altogether, McCray’s assorted federal frauds diverted nearly $119K of taxpayer money. McCray agreed that she received the funds as a result of falsifying records and was sentenced in April to three months in prison for healthcare fraud and false statements. She also must pay $118,943.19 in restitution, plus $100 to the Crime Victims’ Fund. (SNAP! Indeed).
Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa, “Iowa City Woman Sentenced to Prison for Fraud Charges,” dated April 19, 2021.
DAVENPORT, Iowa — On Thursday, April 15, 2021, United States District Court Chief Judge John A. Jarvey sentenced Tykeese McCray, age 44, of Iowa City, to three months in prison for Health Care Fraud and False Statements announced Acting United States Attorney Richard D. Westphal. McCray was ordered to serve three years of supervised release to follow her prison term and pay restitution in the amount of $118,943.19 and $100 to the Crime Victims’ Fund.
The investigation revealed as early as 2011, McCray fraudulently completed application paperwork for the Section 8 housing assistance program administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). On the initial application, as well as the annual recertification forms filed every year, McCray purposefully did not list her husband as a household member, nor did she include his income for purposes of determining her eligibility. McCray also falsified benefit forms by indicating she was single when, in fact, she was married. In addition to defrauding HUD, McCray also falsified forms for food assistance benefits (aka SNAP), childcare assistance, and medical insurance through Medicaid. As a result of falsifying records, McCray agreed she received $54,032 in entitled housing assistance, $31,385 in unentitled food assistance, $31,835.73 in unentitled medical assistance, and $1,690.46 in unentitled medical assistance for a total loss amount of $118,943.19.