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MARCH 10, 2010

BOSTON, MA - A Norwood man and woman were convicted today in federal court of defrauding the Norwood Housing Authority (NHA) and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) of more than $100,000 in Section 8 housing benefits.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Diane Hill DeChellis, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General, announced today that SONNY VO, age 53, and DENISE NGUYEN, aka DU THI NGUYEN, age 52, both of 72 Heaton Avenue, Norwood, Massachusetts, pled guilty before U.S. District Judge William G. Young to three counts of mail fraud.

At today’s plea hearing, the prosecutor told the Court that had the case proceeded to trial the Government’s evidence would have proven that VO purchased the property at 72 Heaton Avenue in Norton (the “Heaton Ave. property”) in August 2001 and that he and NGUYEN have lived there together from at least September 2001 through September 2008. During this time, the NHA made Section 8 rent subsidy payments to VO as the owner/landlord for the benefit of NGUYEN as the tenant. HUD regulations prohibit Section 8 assistance to any rental unit occupied by its owner, and also require tenants to disclose to the public housing authority all persons residing in the subsidized unit. VO and NGUYEN defrauded the NHA and HUD by concealing the fact that VO was living in the Heaton Ave. property with NGUYEN and her children. VO and NGUYEN each submitted documents to the NHA which represented falsely that the only persons residing in the Heaton Ave. property were NGUYEN and her children. In addition, VO provided the NHA mailing addresses for himself other than the Heaton Ave. property. The prosecutor told the court that during the 7-year scheme, the NHA made monthly payments to VO totaling $104,496.

Judge Young scheduled sentencing for June 9, 2010. VO and NGUYEN each face up to 20 years imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark J. Balthazard of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.


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