FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Feb. 24, 2014
HUNTINGTON WOMAN SENTENCED TO FEDERAL PRISON FOR STEALING FROM HOMELESS-AID PROGRAM
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – A Huntington woman was sentenced today to a year and a day in federal prison for stealing more than $20,000 from a program that assists the homeless, United States Attorney Booth Goodwin announced. Patricia Howard, 54, embezzled the money from the Huntington Housing Authority’s Shelter Care Plus program in 2011 and 2012, while she was an employee of the Authority.
The Shelter Care Plus program receives federal funds to provide housing assistance for homeless people suffering from mental illness, chronic addiction and AIDS. As an employee of the Huntington Housing Authority, Howard helped handle the Shelter Care Plus program’s finances. Her position enabled her to secretly make transfers of program funds to her personal bank account by disguising them as payments to obtain housing for the homeless. Howard’s scheme netted a total of $23,731, which she was ordered to repay as part of her sentence. Howard admitted her crime to federal law enforcement authorities after being caught.
In an unrelated case, Howard was recently convicted in state court for fraudulently using an access device. She is serving a one- to three-year state sentence for that conviction. Howard will begin serving the federal sentence imposed today after she finishes her time in state custody.
The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation, assisted by the Huntington Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Erik S. Goes handled the prosecution. Chief United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers presided over the case and imposed today’s sentence.