Fort Myers, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces the unsealing of an indictment charging Cape Coral residents Ronald R. Raiola, a/k/a Ronald Sambuco (57), and Rose Ann Labarbera (61) with conspiracy to defraud the United States and to commit theft of government funds, and theft of government funds involving the Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program. Raiola is charged with an additional count of theft of government funds in relation to the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Program. The conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of 5 years, and each count of theft of government funds carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. The indictment also notifies the couple that the United States is seeking a money judgment in the amount of the proceeds of each of the fraud schemes.
Raiola and Labarbera were arrested earlier today and made their initial appearances in federal court in Fort Myers. They were released on bond and Raiola was also ordered to participate in home detention and electronic monitoring.
According to the indictment, Raiola participated in the HCV Program, commonly referred to as “Section 8,” from at least January 1997 until December 2012. He made fraudulent representations concerning his identity, marital status, place of residence, financial status, and ability to engage in gainful employment in order to participate in, and receive housing assistance subsidies through the HCV Program and SSI benefits from the SSA. Raiola is married to and lives with Labarbera. As part of the alleged conspiracy, they concealed their marital status, income, and ownership interests in residential properties in New York and Florida from HUD. Some of these properties were purportedly rented through the HCV Program to Raiola, and rent was paid to Labarbera and to Raiola’s alias by HUD.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has violated one or more federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the United States Department of Housing & Urban Development - Office of Inspector General, and the Social Security Administration - Office of Inspector General, with assistance from the Lee County Sherriff’s Office Economic Crimes and Special Operations Units, the City of Fort Myers Housing Authority, the New York City Housing Authority, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Cape Coral Police Department. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David G. Lazarus.