Four former local public housing authority officials in Louisiana will spend time behind bars and on probation after being convicted in a conspiracy to steal half a million dollars in bonuses, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).
U.S. District Judge Donald E. Walter sentenced former Morgan City Housing Authority Executive Director Charles Spann and his three former employees — Tori Johnson, Diana Pace and Sandra Greene — for each pocketing more than $100,000 in undeserved bonuses between 2007 and 2013.
The four were prosecuted in federal court because funding for local public housing authorities mostly comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
After the four got one-time bonuses in 2007 for their work during and after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Johnson proposed to Spann that they keep receiving bonuses. Johnson wrote false justifications for the bonuses and Spann signed off on them, according to the DOJ.
The DOJ did not say where the bonus funds originated, or how other officials failed to notice the fraud over seven years. Neither the Morgan City Housing Authority Board of Directors nor the city’s civil service board approved the bonuses, the DOJ said.
The DOJ did not say whether the four fraudsters resigned or were fired. (RELATED: Local Housing Authority Allegedly Stole Poor People’s Rent Money)
Spann took $111,657.47, Johnson took $100,040.23, Greene took $165,405.46 and Pace took $137,660.72, for a total of $514,764.14. The judge ordered the four fraudsters to repay all of the money.
Spann, guilty of one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, will spend 36 months in prison and three years on supervised release.
Johnson, guilty of one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, will spent 12 months and a day in prison and three years on supervised release.
Pace, guilty of one count of theft of government money, will spend 18 months in prison and three years on supervised release.
Greene will spend five years on probation for one count of misprision of a felony.
More than 3,000 local public housing authorities receive HUD funds. The Daily Caller News Foundation has reported multiple examples of local public housing officials stealing funds intended to help society’s poorest.
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