Former Fresno Housing Authority Employee Pleads Guilty to Receiving Bribes from Applicants for Housing Benefits
FRESNO, Calif. — Aryca Danieyelle Williams, 38, of Fresno, pleaded guilty today to two counts of extortion under color of official right, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, Williams was a Housing Program Coordinator at the Fresno Housing Authority from 2007 through 2013. The Fresno Housing Authority is a state agency responsible for administering federal housing benefits programs, such as the Section 8 housing choice voucher program. To obtain housing benefits, applicants must put their names in a lottery system, which is supposed to randomly award benefits to qualified applicants. As a Housing Program Coordinator, Williams was responsible for managing the files of housing assistance applicants. She solicited bribe payments from housing authority applicants and promised to switch their names with the names of individuals who had been legitimately selected to receive housing benefits. In switching the names, Williams enabled the applicants to bypass the lottery system and immediately qualify to receive housing benefits. The bribe payments received by Williams included a $1,150 payment to her landlord and a $500 payment to her utility company. In total, Williams received bribe payments from 10 to 12 housing applicants.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Grant Rabenn is prosecuting the case.
Williams is scheduled to be sentenced on June 19, 2017, at 10:00 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd. Williams faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.