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Press Release

Former Wilmington Housing Authority Employee Pleads Guilty to $179,000 Embezzlement

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Delaware

WILMINGTON, Del. - Charles M. Oberly, III, United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced that Damien Piper, age 34, of Wilmington, Delaware, pled guilty today to violations of 18 U.S.C. § 666 (Theft of Public Funds).  Piper, who will be sentenced on February 2, 2016, by the Honorable Gregory M. Sleet, United States District Judge for the District of Delaware, faces a maximum sentence of ten years in prison, a fine of $250,000, and 3 years of supervised release.

According to statements made at the plea hearing and documents filed in court, the defendant was an Assistant Site Manager for the Wilmington Housing Authority’s Crestview Apartments.  In February 2012, he began converting residents’ rental payments to his personal use.  Residents often paid their rent by money order.  Piper received and altered the money orders, making them payable to himself.  Piper deposited the money orders into bank accounts he owned and controlled, and he cashed some of the money orders at check cashing businesses.

From February 10, 2012, and continuing up to and including October 7, 2014, Piper took more than 700 money orders that were designated for the Housing Authority, and he obtained at least $179,000.  Piper altered the Housing Authority’s computerized records to conceal the converted payments as “adjustments.”  These altered Housing Authority records indicated that less rent was due from the residents.  In fact, Piper collected the full amount of rent from the residents and kept the “adjustment” amount for himself.”

U.S. Attorney Oberly commented:  “I personally want to thank everyone involved who made this prosecution possible.  Those who think they can commit crimes like this will be prosecuted and punished accordingly.”

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, and the United States Postal Inspection Service.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lauren Paxton.

Updated February 4, 2016