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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Former Roxse Homes Workers Charged with Taking Bribes

BOSTON – Two former Roxse Homes employees were arrested today on charges that they conspired to rent apartments at the housing development in Roxbury to individuals who were not qualified for those apartments, in exchange for cash bribes.

Mathis Lemons, 41, of Brockton, and Ismael Morales, 35, of Jamaica Plain, were indicted on one count of conspiracy and seven counts of bribery.

The Indictment alleges that Lemons was the assistant property manager and that Morales was a maintenance technician for Roxse Homes, a subsidized housing development on Tremont Street in Roxbury.  At Roxse Homes, eligible low-income families and individuals can obtain rental housing for a subsidized rate with Section 8 housing benefits from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  In 2014, there was a shortage of federally subsidized Section 8 housing in Massachusetts, and Roxse Homes maintained a long waitlist of applicants desiring apartments in the complex.  The Roxse Homes waitlist had been closed to external applicants since 2009.

The Indictment alleges that, between approximately September 2014 and February 2015, Lemons and Morales conspired to rent apartments to individuals who were not eligible for subsidized Roxse Homes apartments because they were not on the waitlist.  Morales solicited and accepted money from individuals, and in return provided them with blank rental applications.  Morales also instructed some of the individuals not to date their applications, or to date their applications in 2006 or 2009, when in fact the applications were completed in 2014.  Lemons then added the unqualified individuals to the Roxse Homes computerized waitlist, and falsely wrote that their application dates were 2006 or 2009.

The charge of conspiracy provides a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.  The charge of bribery provides a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Christina Scaringi, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General, New York Regional Office; Matthew J. Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Glenn A. Cunha, Inspector General of Massachusetts; and Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans, made the announcement today.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristina E. Barclay of Ortiz’s Public Corruption Unit.

The details contained in the Indictment are allegations.  The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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Updated September 9, 2015