Seven Arrested in Housing Voucher Scheme
The alleged scheme unfolded after an individual approached a housing officer and offered bribes for Section 8 housing vouchers last December, according to Annie Kim, spokeswoman for the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA). The city currently has about 47,000 vouchers, but the wait list is closed, making the vouchers extremely difficult to obtain.
According to LAPD Lt. Andrew Neiman, the main suspect offered $2,000 for every client the HACLA advisor would approve for the vouchers. The suspect also asked that the criteria and screening process be waived on Section 8 applications.
The HACLA advisor alerted authorities, kicking off a major operation involving the LAPD Major Crimes Division Criminal Investigation, Rampart Division; Housing Authority Investigators; and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Seven suspects were arrested and $175,000 was recovered during the arrests. The primary suspect pled guilty to bribing a public official, according to the press release.
Kim stated that the last time a Section 8 housing voucher scandal erupted was in 2008, when a man was arrested for selling fake vouchers through Craigslist. The man posed as a housing authority employee with a fake agency badge, and met the victims at the housing authority office at 2500 Wilshire Blvd. The victims paid $2,500 for the fake vouchers. The man pled guilty to grand theft and was sentenced to six years in prison in 2009.