BOSTON - A Revere couple were charged today in federal court with illegally obtaining Section 8 housing benefits and Social Security disability payments.
Michael Cucchiello, Sr., 61 and Lisa Nickerson, 59, were charged in a 10 count information alleging that they conspired with each other to obtain Section 8 housing assistance payments by concealing the fact that they were living together.
According to the Information, from Jan. 1, 2002 and continuing to on or about Sept. 29, 2006, Cucchiello and Nickerson were living together but conspired to conceal their shared living arrangement by falsely stating that Cucchiello lived at a different address than Nickerson. They concealed this fact from HUD because their total household income exceeded HUD’s guidelines for Section 8 benefits. During another time frame, from Oct. 1, 2006 to approximately April 30, 2008, the benefits were paid on behalf of Nickerson to Cucchiello, as her landlord. HUD does not allow housing subsidy payments to be made where a landlord is living with the tenant. It is further alleged that, during this second time period, Nickerson was ineligible for housing assistance because her household income exceeded the guidelines as a result of Cucchiello living with her. As a consequence of this conspiracy, it is alleged that HUD was defrauded of $79,416 for both periods.
The Information also alleges that Cucchiello and Nickerson schemed with each other to obtain Social Security disability benefits to which they were not entitled because they were able to work, and did, in fact, work. They also lied about their living arrangements by failing to report that they resided with another person (each other) receiving disability payments. Cucchiello also allegedly failed to disclose his income from a bakery he owns in East Boston and rental payments he received on behalf of Nickerson. According to the Information, Cucchiello and Nickerson obtained $58,061 and $27,278, respectively, through their fraudulent scheme.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Scott Antolik, Special Agent in Charge of Office of the Inspector General with the Social Security Administration’s Office of Investigations, Boston Field Division; and Cortez Richardson, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of the Inspector General made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Kanwit of Ortiz’s Major Crimes.