News and Press Releases

Former Housing Authority Executive Director Convicted in Money Laundering and Theft Case

August 17, 2011

Montgomery, Alabama - Shirley Foxworth, of Pansey, Alabama, entered a guilty plea on August 12, 2011, to federal money laundering and theft of government property charges related to her former position as Executive Director of the Ashford and Columbia, Alabama, Housing Authorities, U.S. Attorney George L. Beck, Jr., announced today.

Evidence presented at the guilty plea hearing established that from 1997 to 2007, Foxworth was the Executive Director of both the Ashford Housing Authority and the Columbia Housing Authority, located in Houston County, Alabama. As Executive Director, Foxworth was responsible for, among other things, the operating budget of the housing authorities and obtaining funds from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to operate the housing authorities.

At various times during her tenure as Executive Director, Foxworth obtained funds from HUD. Foxworth would then, on occasion, write checks to various individuals, or businesses of those individuals, who were supposed to be performing maintenance work or office work at the housing authorities. These checks would be written on the account of the housing authorities and would be written for amounts greater than the work that was supposed to have been performed. Foxworth would direct these individuals to cash the checks and to return to her the amount that was in excess of the work performed. The checks were written in a way to disguise the fact that the extra amount appeared to be for work performed when in fact it was not. Rather, the extra amount was returned to Foxworth which she used for her personal benefit. Because they are HUD funds, the money in the housing authorities’ accounts, and the excess amounts kept by defendant, were the property of the United States.

A sentencing hearing will be set by the court at a future date. The maximum term of imprisonment on the money laundering count which may be imposed is not more than 20 years. Foxworth is also subject to a maximum fine on that count not to exceed $500,000, or both fine and imprisonment. On the theft of government property count, Foxworth faces a maximum term of imprisonment of not more than 10 years and a maximum fine of $250,000, or both fine and imprisonment. Both counts also call for a three-year period of supervised release, along with court costs and restitution.

In response to this conviction, Michael P. Stephens, Acting Inspector General for the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, stated, “HUD's Office of Inspector General is committed to ensuring taxpayers' dollars are put to good use and HUD programs are free from waste, fraud and abuse. This joint prosecutorial effort by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and HUD’s Office of Inspector General has helped send a strong message that those who seek to unlawfully profit by defrauding programs within HUD will be vigorously prosecuted.”

IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Reginael D. McDaniel said, “Individuals thinking about taking part in a fraud scheme should stop in their tracks and simply look at the consequences of taking the next step. Those consequences include potential jail time and being branded a convicted felon for the rest of their lives.”

The case was investigated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General, and the Internal Revenue Service–Criminal Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd A. Brown.


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