Greenbelt, Maryland - A federal grand jury has indicted Carla Carter, former deputy director of the Prince George’s County Housing Authority, and her husband, Raymond Carter, both age 53, of Mitchellville, Maryland, on charges related to a scheme to fraudulently receive $109,823 in rental subsidy payments from the Housing Authority. The indictment was returned on December 8th and unsealed today upon the defendants’ initial appearance.
The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Cary A. Rubenstein of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of Inspector General; and Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“When we learn of individuals in a HUD-funded position of public trust who abuse that position for personal enrichment, we vigorously investigate these individuals to make sure they are brought to justice,” said Cary Rubenstein, Special Agent in Charge, HUD OIG. “We wish to thank our law enforcement partners at the FBI and the Maryland U.S. Attorney's Office for their steadfast efforts.”
According to the 15-count indictment, Carla Carter was deputy director of the Prince George’s County Housing Authority (Housing Authority) from July 2007 through February 2012. From June through October 2008, she also served as the acting director of the Prince George’s County Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), the parent agency of the Housing Authority. Carla and Raymond Carter owned properties in Prince George’s County that were registered in HUD’s Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV Program). The HCV Program is a federal program assisting low-income families, the elderly and the disabled to afford decent, safe and sanitary housing in the private rental market. The program is administered by the Housing Authority.
The indictment alleges that from October 2007 through December 2012, the Carters conspired to defraud HUD and the Housing Authority to obtain rental subsidy payments for the properties they owned in Bowie and Capitol Heights. During most of this period, Carla Carter was an employee with the Housing Authority who formulated policy and influenced decisions with respect to Housing Authority programs. To disguise the scheme and their ownership of the properties, the Carters are alleged to have falsely identified a co-conspirator as the owner and landlord of the properties, and caused the Housing Authority to make rental subsidy payments to the co-conspirator.
The indictment alleges that from about March to at least September 2008, the Carters caused the Housing Authority to issue monthly checks from the HCV Program payable to the coconspirator. From October 2008 to February 2012 the Carters caused the Housing Authority to make direct deposits into a bank account in the name of the coconspirator. The defendants then allegedly redirected those funds into a bank account they controlled, fraudulently obtaining a total of $109,823.98 from the Housing Authority.
According to the indictment, on May 5, 2008, and April 18, 2011, Carla Carter submitted a false financial disclosure statement to the Prince George’s County Board of Ethics that failed to disclose her ownership of the properties. In 2008 or 2009, Carla Carter allegedly asked an employee of the Housing Authority and the DHCD to change the listed owner of one of the properties in DHCD’s computer records from “Carla Carter” to “Raymond Carter,” and to change the listed landlord of that property from “Carla Carter” to the name of the coconspirator.
Carla and Raymond Carter each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for conspiring to commit wire fraud, 13 counts of wire fraud, and conspiring to commit money laundering. The defendants had their initial appearance this morning in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt and were released under the supervision of U.S. Pretrial Services.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the HUD-OIG and FBI for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Bryan E. Foreman and Nicolas Mitchell, who are prosecuting the case.