For Immediate Release
July 25, 2016
A Chicago woman has been indicted on federal wire and mail fraud charges for allegedly using two social security numbers to fraudulently obtain a Chicago Housing Authority Housing Choice Voucher and Social Security benefits to which she was not entitled.
The indictment against Lorraine Johnson, 53, was returned on July 21 by a grand jury sitting in U.S. District Court in Chicago. It alleges that Johnson used two different Social Security numbers to conceal her work activity, income and assets from the Chicago Housing Authority and the Social Security Administration. Johnson received federal disability benefits and housing subsidies under one Social Security number, while working under a different Social Security number, according to the indictment. Johnson also submitted false documents, including an altered warranty deed, to the Chicago Housing Authority that identified a relative as the owner and landlord of a house that Johnson owned, the indictment states.
According to the indictment, between August 2003 and June 2016, Johnson obtained approximately $212,165 in illegal benefits.
The investigation was initiated by the CHA’s Office of the Inspector General, which worked jointly with the Chicago Field Division of SSA’s Office of the Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois. The government is represented by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared Jodrey.
“We applaud the investigative efforts of CHA’s OIG, the federal government and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for uncovering and taking action against this alleged fraud,” said CHA CEO Eugene Jones, Jr. “We are committed to working with CHA’s OIG and other investigative agencies to ensure that people who want to commit fraud are brought to justice.”
“This is not a victimless crime. Stealing money from CHA and Social Security disability funds is a crime against all taxpayers,” said CHA Inspector General Elissa Rhee-Lee. “These types of crimes deprive the worthy citizens who need and deserve affordable housing and disability assistance. The message should be loud and clear that the OIG will pursue, root out and prosecute those individuals committing crimes against the taxpayers.”
The public is reminded that charges are not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.