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Press Release

Former High-Ranking Nassau County Housing Official Sentenced To Eighteen Months’ Incarceration

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York
Defendant Stole More Than $120,000 In Federal Section 8 Housing Benefits Earmarked For Low-Income Long Islanders

Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Central Islip, New York, Louis Abate, the former Fiscal Director for the Nassau County Office of Housing and Community Development, previously convicted of stealing over $120,000 in federal housing benefits intended for low-income Long Islanders in need of housing financial assistance, was sentenced to eighteen months in prison by United States District Judge Sandra J. Feuerstein.  Judge Feuerstein also imposed restitution of $122,250. 

The sentenced was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Cary Rubenstein, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General.

“The defendant had the trust of his colleagues and the County and was charged with providing much needed housing for low income families.  Instead, he abused that trust to enrich himself and cooked the books to hide his deception,” stated United States Attorney Lynch.  “This sentence should deter likeminded public officials from abusing their authority by embezzling money entrusted in their care.”  Ms. Lynch extended her grateful appreciation to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, for its assistance.    

Qualifying low income families are eligible to receive Section 8 Program rent subsidies under a federal program funded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  The Nassau County Office of Housing and Community Development (NCOHCD) is the administrative entity responsible for implementing and monitoring the programs and grants funded by HUD in Nassau County, including Section 8 grants.  Once a Section 8 applicant is accepted for assistance, NCOHCD, using Section 8 HUD funds, provides rent assistance through payments that are made directly to the recipient’s landlord.  The Fiscal Director of NCOHCD is appointed by the Nassau County Executive.  

Between May 2009 and August 2011, the defendant stole more than $120,000 in federal rental subsidies from a Section 8 program that he oversaw, which serviced individuals residing in Island Park, New York.  In order to accomplish the theft, the defendant created a fictitious landlord with no associated tenant, and for more than two years diverted the Section 8 benefits for this supposed landlord to a bank account he personally controlled.  Abate was successful in concealing his fraud from the NCOHCD by systematically altering various accounting records to remove any reference to the diverted funds.  During this period, Abate illegally paid himself approximately $5,000 per month – more than three times the monthly amount of federal Section 8 subsidies received by any single participating landlord in the Island Park area during that time.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lara Treinis Gatz.

The Defendant

Age: 49
Residence: North Massapequa, New York

Updated July 2, 2015