Office of Communications -- Chicago Housing Authority
Molly Sullivan 312-786-3344 firstname.lastname@example.org
Matthew Aguilar (312) 935-2646 email@example.com
CHICAGO (Aug. 22, 2016) – The Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) announced today that nine individuals have been indicted by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office for allegedly defrauding CHA and other government agencies of more than $1 million by falsely obtaining benefits to which they were not entitled, or engaging in other alleged schemes to cheat the housing agency and other government agencies out of their resources.
The charges against the individuals were brought in last week following investigations by CHA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) – its investigators looking into the alleged fraud following tips. The investigations were conducted jointly with a variety of agencies including the Chicago Field Divisions of the Social Security Administration’s OIG, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’s OIG, the Department of Homeland Security OIG and the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services OIG.
“To state that these types of fraud-against-government-agencies have to stop is an understatement,” said Elissa Rhee-Lee, CHA’s Inspector General. “Prevention is the key. The solution is not only for the OIG to investigate and prosecute, but there must be a commitment by the agency to train the employees to look for red flags, constantly be vigilant to ensure the programs are administered with strong internal controls, and to promote a strong ethical work environment.”
CHA CEO Eugene Jones, Jr. said CHA remains committed to preventing and stopping fraud and unethical behavior, and has improved the internal audit department to ensure that there is greater oversight of CHA operations.
“As an agency that uses taxpayer-supported dollars to provide housing assistance to residents of Chicago, I want to reiterate that CHA will not tolerate any abuse of these resources that support some of our city’s neediest residents,” Jones said. “I want to remind all of our employees and anyone else who suspects fraud or wrongdoing to contact the CHA OIG hotline.”
The charges against the individuals involved a variety of alleged schemes, from allegedly fraudulently obtaining housing assistance funds from CHA by failing to report income to qualify for housing assistance, to allegedly getting payments as a landlord in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program while at the same time securing an HCV that paid part of her rent.
Others charged allegedly provided false information to the Social Security Administration in order to obtain housing subsidies or support to which they otherwise would have been entitled.
The cases are being prosecuted by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Public Corruption/Financial Crimes Unit as part of an ongoing initiative through the Cook County Regional Organized Crime's Task Force's Benefit Fraud Work Group.
The public is reminded that charges are not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the State has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The names of those indicted include:
- Aletta Applewhite of Chicago
- Doris Bell of Chicago
- Helen Davis of Chicago
- Arthur Dorsey Jr. (aka Cleveland Reed Jr.) of Chicago
- Wanda Goodloe of Chicago
- Tiajuanna Hawthorne of Chicago
- Howard Headd of Chicago
- Ericka Island of Chicago
- Lorene Loyde of Chicago