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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Lebanon County Landlord Charged With Housing Assistance Fraud

     The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that it has filed a criminal information in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg charging Israel Acevedo, 52, of Lebanon with defrauding the Lebanon County Housing Authority out of more than $23,000 in federal funds provided by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

     According to U.S. Attorney Peter Smith, Acevedo allegedly was a landlord who participated in HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) that was administered by the Housing Authority. Acevedo’s spouse received federal funds in the form of rental subsidies under HUD’s housing assistance program.

     Allegedly, Acevedo concealed from the Housing Authority that he lived with his wife and children in a house he owned and received the federal rental subsidies that were provided to his spouse to pay rent. Acevedo was allegedly prohibited from renting to a spouse or other family members who were receiving rent subsidies. By concealing the relationship Acevedo’s income from his employment was not factored into how much his spouse was entitled to in rent subsidies, allegedly resulting in Acevedo receiving $23,362 in federal funds that Acevedo was not entitled to.

     The United States Attorney’s Office also filed a plea agreement in which Acevedo agreed to plead guilty to the charge.  Acevedo has already made restitution.

     Acevedo faces a maximum term of imprisonment of one year, a $100,000 fine and a period of supervised release, plus restitution.

     The case was investigated by HUD’s Office of Inspector General with the assistance of the Lebanon County Housing Authority. Prosecution of the case is assigned to Assistant U.S. Attorney William A. Behe.

     Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.

     A sentence following a finding of guilty is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

     In this case, the maximum penalty under the federal statute is one year imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

Updated April 23, 2015