News and Press Releases

JANICE STAVES AND JAMES YOUNGBLOOD CHARGED WITH DEFRAUDING HANO

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 21, 2013

JANICE STAVES, age 55, a resident of New Orleans, and JAMES YOUNGBLOOD, age 69, a resident of New Orleans, were charged in a bill of information today with conspiracy to commit theft concerning programs receiving federal funds, announced U. S. Attorney Dana Boente.

According to court documents, STAVES was employed as a Purchasing Clerk for the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) from 1992 until June 1, 2009. YOUNGLOOD also had previously worked at HANO from 1972 until 2003. Upon leaving HANO, YOUNGBLOOD formed and operated YOUNGBLOOD and YOUNGBLOOD Construction, LLC.

During the conspiracy, STAVES and YOUNGBLOOD figured out a way to embezzle money from HANO, which receives federal funding. In 2007, STAVES and YOUNGBLOOD discussed, telephonically and in person, that STAVES could get YOUNGBLOOD paid with HANO funds, for doing no work, and in return, YOUNGBLOOD provided kickbacks to STAVES. During this time frame, YOUNGBLOOD received HANO checks totaling $661,904.11, despite having performed no work. STAVES, deposited approximately $100,448.00 in cash from YOUNGBLOOD, into accounts that she controlled. YOUNGBLOOD and STAVES would meet at the HANO office and in parking lots of various businesses close to the HANO office where she would receive her portion of the cash.

Procedures for requisition orders for jobs were circumvented in connection with the elaborate scheme which allowed STAVES to generate false paperwork, which appeared legitimate, resulting in payments to YOUNGBLOOD for work never performed and payments in advance for work to be performed, which was never authorized and never performed at a late date. The fraudulent purchase orders were often designated for debris removal and/or supplies, such as locks.

If convicted, STAVES and YOUNGBLOOD face a maximum term of imprisonment of five (5) years, as well as a fine of $250,000.00 and three (3) years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment, as to each count. Boente reiterated that the bill of information is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendants must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case was investigated by the Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Jon Maestri.

(Download Bill of Information )

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