DETROIT – Three family members of the former executive director of the St. Clair Housing Commission, Lorena Loren, were sentenced today to federal prison after having pleaded guilty to various federal offenses due to their involvement in Loren’s fraudulent scheme to steal money from the Section 8 program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison announced.
Ison was joined in the announcement by Machelle L. Jindra, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and James Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Lorena Loren (now deceased) had previously pleaded guilty and been sentenced to 37 months in prison for conspiring with several family members to steal federal funds provided to the St. Clair Housing Commission by HUD to administer low-income housing programs within St. Clair County. As part of her scheme, Loren stole approximately $336,000 in federal funds, including money earmarked for HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher program, commonly known as Section 8 housing, which allows low-income families to lease privately owned rental properties with the assistance of HUD rental subsidies.
Today, the following three family members were sentenced before the Honorable Mark A. Goldsmith:
Brian Loren (Lorena Loren’s husband), age 61, was sentenced to 9 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to commit federal program fraud of approximately $73,000. According to court records, Brian Loren conspired with his wife and others to embezzle money from the St. Clair Housing Commission. Brian Loren and another individual opened a joint bank account at a PNC Bank in Deland, Florida. Between August 2014 and August 2016, fraudulent Section 8 rental subsidy payments were issued to the PNC Joint Account Holder to benefit Lorena Loren, Brian Loren, and the PNC Joint Account Holder.
Ryan Loren (Lorena Loren’s son), age 36, was sentenced to 11 months in prison after pleading guilty to receiving unlawful compensation from HUD with the intent to defraud. Ryan Loren admitted that, from August 2008 through August 2016, he made false statements to HUD regarding where he lived in order to receive improper funds from HUD, and later he lied about it during his testimony before a federal grand jury. Ryan Loren agreed that he illegally received between $40,000 and $95,000.
Kayla Loren (Ryan Loren’s wife and Lorena Loren’s daughter-in-law), age 33, was also sentenced to 11 months in prison after pleading guilty to receiving unlawful compensation from HUD with the intent to defraud. Like her husband, Kayla Loren admitted that, from August 2010 through August 2016, she made false statements to HUD regarding who lived with her in order to receive improper funds from HUD. Kayla Loren admitted that she had also lied about her actions while testifying before a federal grand jury. Kayla Loren also agreed that she received between $40,000 and $95,000.
As required by their plea agreements, the defendants paid the remaining restitution owed to HUD prior to sentencing. The total amount of restitution paid by these three defendants was $99,835.29. For the whole case, $336,340.22 in restitution has been repaid to HUD as a result of the prosecutions of the Loren family.
U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison commended the work of HUD and the FBI in conducting this criminal investigation and said, “The HUD Section 8 program serves some of the neediest in our community, very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled. We are committed to prosecuting public officials who steal from any federal program and anyone who assists public officials in depriving lawfully-entitled citizens of the vital assistance they need. We are equally committed to prosecuting anyone who lies before a grand jury. Truthful testimony under oath is the foundation of the American system of justice. There will be penalties for those who attempt to erode that foundation.”
"HUD OIG is committed to protecting the integrity of Federal housing programs and bringing justice to those who abuse these programs for personal gain," said Special Agent-in-Charge Machelle Jindra. "We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and hold accountable bad actors and protect the programs that HUD beneficiaries rely on."
“Having been trusted to serve the residents of St. Clair as a public official, Lorena Loren instead conspired with her family to steal federal funds for herself and her family, and today that family is admitting their collective role in that criminal scheme,” said James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office. “This case is yet another example of the FBI’s commitment to rooting out public corruption in order to protect the integrity of the institutions that are supposed to serve the best interests of our citizens.”
The case was originally prosecuted by U.S. Attorney Dawn N. Ison, when she was an Assistant United States Attorney. Today’s sentencing was conducted by Assistant United States Attorneys Sarah Resnick Cohen and Craig A. Weier.
The case was investigated by agents of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.