Former Executive Director Of Rockwall Housing Development Corporation Sentenced To 12 Months And One Day In Federal Prison For Role In Conspiracy To Steal Federal Funds From HUD
DALLAS — Jennifer Tyson, 37, of Rockwall, Texas, the former Executive Director/Manager of the Rockwall Housing Development Corporation (RHDC), was sentenced this morning by U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade to 12 months and one day in federal prison and ordered to pay $195,421.00 in restitution for conspiring to steal federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Judge Kinkeade ordered Tyson to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on May 6, 2013. U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas announced today.
Specifically, Tyson pleaded guilty to an Information charging one count of conspiracy to commit theft concerning programs receiving federal funds. The RDHC is a landlord to several authorized public housing agencies (PHAs) in Rockwall. These PHAs, and, in turn, the RHDC, receive federal funds from HUD through the “Housing Choice Voucher Program.” The RHDC owns and operates a 36-unit apartment complex in Rockwall, known as “the Meadows.”
In her role as the RHDC’s Executive Director/Manager from June 2009 to November 2013, Tyson was an agent of the RHDC. Her responsibilities included, among other things, reviewing and processing monthly housing assistance payments and had managerial discretion and responsibility for the day-to-day running of the Meadows.
According to the factual resume filed in the case, beginning in March 2010 and continuing until June 2011, Tyson wrote approximately 128 RHDC checks, made out to Co-conspirator B, later identified as Trent George, 38, of Wright City, Oklahoma, totaling approximately $126,063. While this co-conspirator did perform some work for the Meadows, such as watering plants and picking up trash, George did not earn, and was not owed, $126,063 over the course of less than 16 months. George has pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy and scheduled to be sentenced on June 25, 2014.
Generally, George cashed the checks that Tyson gave to him. Then, Tyson, along with George and his fiancé, Co-conspirator A, later identified as Rachel McKnight, 31, of Garland, Texas, used the cash to purchase illegal narcotics for their own personal use. McKnight is scheduled to plead guilty next week to her role in the conspiracy.
From February 2011 until January 2012, Tyson wrote approximately 94 RHDC checks made out to “cash” and used the proceeds for her own personal use.
From October 2009 until October 2012, Tyson wrote approximately 55 RHDC checks made out to “reimbursement” and used the proceeds for her own personal use.
In January 2011, McKnight was evicted from the Meadows and began living with George in hotels in Rockwall. Tyson would occasionally visit them and the three would often use illegal narcotics in these hotel rooms. Tyson paid for these hotel stays using RHDC funds.
The investigation was conducted by HUD and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney P.J. Meitl prosecuted.