Everyone has needs – the most basic being food, clothing and shelter. Today’s Fraud of the Day from the Pocono Record, addresses a potential case of fraud involving the last of these three needs: shelter.
The article reports that a low income housing resident has been charged with defrauding the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program. So, what is Section 8? It is a federal program, administered at the local level, “designed to assist low to very low income households get decent housing. Tenants receiving assistance must meet income and eligibility requirements.”
And, how did the defendant allegedly defraud the program? According to authorities, the defendant was residing in her subsidized housing with her husband. (Okay, so what’s the problem?) Authorities allege that he was not listed as a member of the household on her Section 8 documentation. It is alleged that because he was employed, she would not have qualified for the Section 8 rent subsidy if she had disclosed that he was living there. (If true, that’s troubling.) Oh yeah, tax documents show that the defendant’s husband was listed as residing in the home as far back as 2009, and he makes a salary of nearly $100K.
The defendant is, of course, innocent until proven guilty. But, the facts alleged highlight an important point: the truth counts. It is just as possible to commit fraud by omitting information as it is by making up information, as we’ve seen in cases of unemployment fraud and tax refund fraud. Above all, it is important to watch for potential instances of fraud, just as the housing authority did here.
So, here’s the question for the day: what have you done to spot fraud in your agency today?