Former Huntington Housing Services Administrator Admits To Embezzlement
Defendant Patricia Howard stole more than $20k belonging to housing program that provided essential resources for disabled and homeless persons
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – A former administrator with Huntington Housing Authority (“HHA”) pleaded guilty today in federal court to orchestrating an embezzlement scheme that took thousands of dollars belonging to a housing grant program intended to assist disabled and homeless persons, announced U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin. Patricia Howard, 58, pleaded guilty to embezzlement from an organization receiving federal benefits. She was charged in a one-count indictment in August 2012.
As a former administrator with the Huntington Housing Authority (“HHA”), Howard handled the agency’s Shelter Plus Care Program (“Shelter Care”). Shelter Care was established and funded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) to provide housing services to disabled and homeless persons.
Howard set up and administered accounts for disabled and homeless persons as well as landlords who participated in the housing program. In August 2011, Howard created a fictitious Shelter Care landlord account using the name Lawrence Green. Howard used the fictitious account name, a variation of her personal Social Security Number and a false address to link the Shelter Care landlord account to her personal checking account and illegally withdraw monies for her personal use. From August 2011 until August 2012, Howard knowingly embezzled a total of more than $23,000 from HHA.
Howard, who is currently being held on unrelated state fraud charges, faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when she is sentenced on February 24, 2014 by Chief United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers.
The HUD Office of Inspector General, the FBI and the Huntington Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Erik S. Goes is handling the prosecution.