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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Ohio

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 11, 2015

Former employee at Parma Public Housing Agency charged with stealing $232,000

A former employee at Parma Public Housing Agency was charged with stealing more than $232,000 from the agency, said Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

Amy Belz, 34, of Brunswick, Ohio, was charged with one count of theft of government funds via criminal information.

“This defendant is accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars that was meant to be used to help people obtain housing,” Dettelbach said. “Public employees who steal from taxpayers will be held accountable for their actions.”      

The information charges that between 2008 and 2014, while Belz was program manager of the Parma Public Housing Agency, she stole $232,407.48 by writing 138 checks to herself, money which was provided to Parma from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In order to conceal her theft of funds from Parma Public Housing Agency and HUD, Belz made the checks out to herself, but typed vendor names on the carbon copies in the Parma Public Housing Agency check registers.  Belz then created false invoices from these legitimate Parma Public Housing Agency vendors, attached them to the false carbon copies, and placed them in the Parma Public Housing Agency files to make it appear that the vendor was paid for work, knowing that such was never actually ordered or completed, according to the information.

If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to the case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense, and the characteristics of the violation.  In all cases the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Adam Hollingsworth after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of the Inspector General and the Parma Police Department.

An information is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

 

Topic(s): 
Public Corruption
Component(s): 
Updated May 11, 2015