RICHMOND, Va. – A real estate broker in Colonial Heights has agreed to settle allegations that he induced a low-income tenant to pay additional money for rent not permitted under a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rent subsidy program in which he was participating.
Harold Joseph Tyler, owner of Tyler Realty Group, participates in the federally-funded Housing Choice Voucher Program, a program for low-income individuals administered by HUD. In return for participating, Tyler receives a portion of the rent from housing assistance funds from HUD. The United States alleged that Mr. Tyler violated the federal False Claims Act (FCA) by certifying that he would not receive any payments in excess of the agreed rent. However, Tyler Realty Group, for a period of approximately 72 months, collected $190 per month from the tenant over and above the rent in the form of a monthly “non-refundable deposit.”
A qui tam action under the FCA is commenced by an individual, known as a “relator,” filing a complaint under seal in U.S. District Court, and providing a copy of the complaint and other evidence to the local U.S. Attorney. The United States then has an opportunity to investigate the claims. The relator in this case was the tenant who leased the residence and paid the excess amounts to Tyler Realty Group.
The resolutions obtained in this matter were the result of a coordinated effort between the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General.
The matter was investigated by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert McIntosh. The civil claims settled by this False Claims Act agreement are allegations only; there has been no determination of civil liability.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.