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Press Release

Former Wilmington Housing Authority Employee Sentenced to 12 Months in Prison for 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, was sentenced today by the Honorable Gregory M. Sleet, United States District Judge for the District of Delaware, to 12 months and one day in prison, and full restitution.  The defendant pleaded guilty to Theft of Public Funds, in October 2015.

According to court filings and statements made 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.

Judge Sleet stated, among other things, that “the impact on the Housing Authority was real and apparent, if not devastating,” and the defendant “damaged the reputation of the Agency for his own enrichment.”

U.S. Attorney Oberly commented, “The theft of money from those who pay rent to the Wilmington Housing Authority is particularly despicable, and the prosecution of Mr. Piper was warranted.  I thank all those involved that helped bring this matter to a successful conclusion.”

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 March 10, 2016

Financial Fraud