Woodbury Woman Sentenced For Using Two Identities To Receive HUD Tax Credits Fraudulently
MINNEAPOLIS—Earlier today in federal court, a 53-year-old Woodbury woman was sentenced for using an alternative identity to receive, among other things, more than $18,000 in Low Income Housing Tax Credits (“LIHTC”) from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”).
United States District Court Judge Joan N. Ericksen sentenced Victoria Ayoola to two years of probation on one count of social security fraud and one count of making false statements. In addition, Ayoola was ordered to pay $18,114 in restitution. Ayoola was indicted on July 10, 2012, and pleaded guilty on August 23, 2012.
Following today’s sentencing, Michael Feinberg, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations’ St. Paul Field Office (“ICE HSI”), said, “This type of fraud poses serious security vulnerability, one that often contributes to a host of other crimes – including identity theft and financial fraud. Targeting schemes like this that enable individuals to obtain fraudulent U.S. identity documents is a top priority for ICE HSI, and we are committed to working with our law enforcement partners to detect, investigate, and dismantle this type of activity.”
In the plea agreement, Ayoola admitted that she applied for and received a social security card under the name Oluremi George on November 19, 1996. On the application, Ayoola indicated to the Commissioner of Social Security that she had never before been issued a social security number. However, Ayoola knew she already had a social security number under the name Victoria Ayoola, issued on November 26, 1991.
Since 1996, Ayoola has used both social security numbers and identities to apply for and renew Minnesota identification cards and driver’s licenses, seek and obtain employment, and file federal and state tax returns. George also used the false identity to receive a lower monthly housing rental rate by qualifying for a LIHTC rental unit at Pondview Townhomes in Woodbury.
Pondview is a low income housing development that provides housing assistance to its residents through the use of HUD loans and funds as well as through LIHTCs. To be eligible to live in one of the units, a person must make less than the federal annual tax credit income limit. In 2011, that limit for Washington County, Minnesota, was $35,280. In an effort to qualify for the subsidized housing unit, George certified that her anticipated 2011 income would be $30,930, even though she knew it would be approximately $55,887.13.
Ayoola’s fraud has resulted in more than $18,000 in underpayments of rent since 2004.
This case was the result of an investigation by ICE HSI and its Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force, the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General, HUD’s Office of Inspector General, the U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, and the Minnesota State Patrol, with assistance from the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Dunne.