Investigation by CHA and HUD Inspectors General ends with guilty plea and restitution to CHA by former contractor

July 11, 2016 01:53 PM
 

Office of Communications -- Chicago Housing Authority
Molly Sullivan 312-786-3344 msullivan@thecha.org 

CHICAGO (July 11, 2016) - The Chicago Housing Authority will receive restitution for money stolen by a former contractor and her husband after the pair pleaded guilty to stealing funds intended for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, a crime that was exposed following an investigation by the CHA’s Office of the Inspector General. 

Former contractor Charlene Potts and her husband Scott Washington pleaded guilty in Cook County Criminal Court on July 8 to stealing the funds totaling $177,712.03 while Potts worked for CHA contractor Quadel that, at the time, managed the HCV program. 

Potts pleaded guilty to one count of financial crime conspiracy and was sentenced to four years in prison and Washington pleaded guilty to one count of continuing financial crimes enterprise and was sentenced to 30 months’ felony probation. Each was ordered to pay $88,500 in restitution. 

Potts and Washington were indicted in August 2013 following an investigation that began in October 2012 by CHA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG), which worked jointly with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Office of the Inspector General to uncover the theft scheme. 

“This case was particularly egregious in that Potts worked side-by-side with CHA employees and held a management position,” said Elissa Rhee-Lee, CHA’s Inspector General. “The true victims of Potts’ and Washington’s crime are the citizens of Chicago who need decent and affordable housing. I can assure you that the OIG will continue to root out and prosecute individuals committing crimes against CHA.” 

CHA CEO Eugene Jones, Jr. said: “Thanks to a thorough investigation by our own OIG and HUD, this crime was uncovered, the defendants were brought to justice and the CHA will be repaid for lost funds that are needed to support housing subsidies for low income renters. I applaud both OIG offices for their hard work. We do not tolerate any behavior that violates the public trust or the trust of our residents and voucher program participants.” 

Quadel no longer has a contract with the CHA and the agency recently issued a request for proposals for a cost benefit analysis to determine what, if any, improvements or changes might be made to the HCV program. 

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