COUPLE PLEADS GUILTY TO CONSPIRING TO STEAL MONEY FROM FEDERAL HOUSING PROGRAMS
ALFRED COLEMAN, age 54, and his wife TYIST DECQUIR COLEMAN, age 42, residents of Harvey, Louisiana, pleaded guilty today before U. S. District Court Judge Eldon Fallon to a one-count bill of information for conspiracy to steal government funds, announced U. S. Attorney Jim Letten.
According to court documents, on or about November 30, 2007, TYIST DECQUIR COLEMAN, began receiving rental assistance from the Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP), a program funded through the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to assist persons renting housing following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. DHAP provided federal funds to pay for rental properties for persons for at least 18 months. However, in order to be eligible persons must have been renting their residence. TYIST DECQUIR COLEMAN was not renting housing at that time. Prior to November 30, 2007, TYIST DECQUIR COLEMAN had married ALFRED COLEMAN and they resided in a home on Keith Way Drive in Harvey, Louisiana which was owned by ALFRED COLEMAN. From on or about January 1, 2008 until on or about March 1, 2009, TYIST DECQUIR COLEMAN, continued to fraudulently receive monthly rental assistance from DHAP through the Jefferson Parish Housing Authority for rental assistance at the Keith Way Drive home, failing to disclose that she was not renting her residence, but that she and ALFRED COLEMAN were living at the residence which was owned by ALFRED COLEMAN.
Following the termination of DHAP assistance benefits, TYIST DECQUIR COLEMAN, representing herself as Tyist Dequir, signed a Request for Tenancy Approval for the Housing Choice Voucher Program, a HUD funded program for low-income citizens renting their housing. The COLEMANS claimed that TYIST DECQUIR COLEMAN was renting the home she and ALFRED COLEMAN owned and that ALFRED COLEMAN was her landlord. The COLEMANS fraudulently received rental payments from the federal program for the home they owned until January 1, 2012. The COLEMANS received for more than $40,000 to which they were not entitled.
Sentencing will take place on March 7, 2013. Each defendant faces a maximum of five (5) years imprisonment and/or a fine of $250,000. Upon release from any term of imprisonment, each defendant is subject to a maximum of three (3) years supervised release.
The case was investigated by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development–OIG and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Emily K. Greenfield.
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud from a person or an organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of storm victims or have knowledge of waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud toll free at: (866) 720-5721. You can also fax information to: (225) 334-4707 or e-mail it to: firstname.lastname@example.org