Former Roxse Homes Workers Plead Guilty to Taking Bribes
BOSTON – Two former employees of Roxse Homes, a subsidized housing development in Boston, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Boston in connection with a scheme to rent apartments at the housing development to individuals who were not qualified in exchange for cash bribes.
Mathis Lemons, 42, of Brockton, pleaded guilty today and Ismael Morales, 36, of Jamaica Plain, pleaded guilty on Monday, May 2, 2016 to one count each of conspiracy and seven counts each of corrupt receipt of payments by a federally funded organization. Lemons is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 20, 2016 and Morales on Aug. 3, 2016.
Lemons was the assistant property manager and Morales worked as 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.
From September 2014 to 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 provided those individuals 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 inputted their application dates as 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. Attorneys Kristina E. Barclay and Eugenia M. Carris of Ortiz’s Public Corruption Unit.