Inspector General investigations result in trio of felony convictions for theft of government funds

October 17, 2017 12:09 PM
 

Press contacts:
Office of Communications – Chicago Housing Authority
Molly Sullivan: (312) 786-3344; msullivan@thecha.org
Matthew Aguilar: (312) 935-2646; maguilar@thecha.org

CHICAGO (Oct. 17, 2017): Three investigations conducted by the Chicago Housing Authority’s Office of the Inspector General (CHA OIG) recently resulted in three new felony convictions for theft of government funds, including one in which the defendant was sentenced to more than six years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

These convictions bring the number of felony convictions to 26 over four years and include:

  • Arthur Dorsey Jr., of Chicago, pled guilty to three counts of Theft of Government Funds and was sentenced to 78 months in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Dorsey was a Section 8 recipient in the CHA’s Housing Choice Voucher program.
     
  • Cassandra Evans, of Chicago, pled guilty to one count of Theft of Government Funds and was sentenced to 24 months’ probation, 30 hours of community service and ordered to pay restitution totaling $8,922.00 to CHA.
     
  • Howard Headd, of Chicago, pled guilty to one count of Continuing Financial Crimes Enterprise and was sentenced to 24 months’ probation for his involvement in a fraud scheme involving his wife Doris Bell, a former voucher recipient in the CHA’s Housing Choice Voucher program. 

CHA CEO Eugene Jones, Jr., said: “The OIG team at CHA is dogged in its pursuit of theft and fraud and its persistence is demonstrated in these three convictions. Some of these cases involved well thought-out schemes over many years. Inspector General Elissa Rhee-Lee should be commended for holding CHA to the highest ethical standards.”

Rhee-Lee said: “Over the years, CHA has learned from these fraud schemes and has consequently made improvements to their internal controls. It is imperative that process improvements to identify red flags be part of the annual mission and goal. Make no mistake that prosecutors and judges take these cases involving fraud of government funds very seriously. Everyone should be forewarned.”

A CHA OIG investigation revealed that, between July 1993 and July 2016, Dorsey stole over $365,000 from both CHA and the Social Security Administration (SSA) by collecting housing assistance and Social Security benefits under two different identities. Additionally, Dorsey misrepresented his relationship with the landlord of one of the subsidized addresses, which was determined to be owned by his mother.

The case was prosecuted by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Public Corruption/Financial Crimes Unit. Dorsey has previous convictions for Murder, Attempted Murder and Escape of a Felon from a Penal Institution.

Evans was a property manager for Eastlake Management Company, the management company for Lowden Homes, a CHA property in the Princeton Park neighborhood on the Far South Side. Her duties included collecting rent from Lowden tenants and depositing them into Eastlake’s bank account. Eastlake then remitted the money to the CHA.

An OIG investigation revealed that, between Jan. 6, 2016 and Feb. 9, 2016, Evans accepted rent payments from tenants, added her name as a payee without authorization and deposited the money into her personal bank account.  According to prosecutors, she then spent the money on personal items.

The case was prosecuted by the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Integrity Bureau.

Between January 2000 and July 2015, the OIG investigation revealed that Bell received benefits from both CHA and Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) by concealing income and assets through the use of a second Social Security number. The benefits received totaled over $140,000.  Additionally, Bell submitted fraudulent documents to the CHA that allowed her to collect housing assistance payments while residing in the house that she owned.

Headd was charged as a co-defendant for signing fraudulent documents to the CHA to conceal Bell’s ownership in the property. Bell had previously pled guilty to one count of Continuing Financial Crimes Enterprise and one count of Theft in March 2017.

Bell was sentenced earlier this year to 30 months’ probation and ordered to make monthly restitution payments totaling $6,800.00 to CHA and $1,700.00 to HFS.

The case was prosecuted by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Public Corruption/Financial Crimes Unit. 

CHA OIG lead investigator Justin King worked jointly on the three investigations with a variety of agencies, including the Chicago Field Office of SSA OIG, HUD OIG and HFS OIG.