Former Victoria Housing Authority Commissioner Charged with HUD and SSA Fraud
|Feb. 24, 2014|
VICTORIA, Texas – Raquel Garcia, 37, has been charged in an three-count indictment alleging theft from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and fraud against the Social Security Administration (SSA), announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson.
The sealed indictment, returned Feb. 20, 2014, was unsealed this morning upon her arrest by federal authorities. She is expected to make her initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Janice B. Ellington at 2:00 p.m. today.
The indictment alleges that beginning in 1998 and continuing until July 2013, Garcia concealed her husband’s cohabitation and income. As a result, she allegedly received nearly $175,000 in HUD rent reductions to which she was not entitled. Further, through her alleged fraud and concealment, Garcia also received approximately $113,000 in SSA Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for herself and as representative payee for her minor son, according to the charges. The total loss to the government allegedly totals more than $287,000.
Garcia served as a mayorally-appointed commissioner of the Victoria County Housing Authority for two consecutive two-year terms from 2006-2010.
If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in federal prison for each of the one count of theft of HUD government funds and up to five years on each of the two SSA fraud charges. All charges also carry a possible $250,000 fine, upon conviction.
The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the SSA – Office of Inspector General and HUD – Office of Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorneys Jeffrey D. Preston and Hugo R. Martinez are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.