Former Employees of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority and Their Associates Charged with Bribery and Fraud
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 03, 2012|
Three people were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges involving bribery and fraud against the Department of Housing and Urban development and conspiracy, United States Attorney Barbara McQuade announced today.
United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade was joined in this announcement by Barry McLaughlin, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General, and Robert D. Foley, III, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Named in the seven count indictment are Donnielle Doster, 47, of Detroit; Roscoe Copeland, 38, of Detroit; and Ta’Leis Hines, 38, of Detroit.
Also, an information was filed in the case in which Angela Reed, 41, of Detroit, is charged with conspiracy. Ms. Doster and Ms. Reed are former employees of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, which administers the HUD Homeless Assistance Recovery Program (HARP), established to give homeless persons preference in the awarding of housing vouchers.
The indictment alleges that the defendants devised, and carried out, a scheme to place people on the HARP list who were not homeless by falsely stating that they were indeed homeless.
In return, they received cash payments.
As part of the fraudulent scheme, the MSHDA employees would falsely backdate the dates the applications were received so that the non-HARP applicants would be given even more priority than the homeless persons who were entitled to the housing vouchers. The indictment also alleges that the co-conspirators forged other documents to falsely show that the ineligible applicants were homeless.
United States Attorney Barbara McQuade stated, “This prosecution alleges that public officials exploited a program that is designed to help the homeless. We will work to ensure that taxpayer-funded programs serve the intended needy recipients, and not enrich public officials.”
Special Agent in Charge Robert D. Foley, III stated, “”Public officials who take office must represent citizens by being honest, fair and trustworthy. The Detroit Area Public Corruption Task Force is committed to ensuring that those who violate such standards and seek to instead enrich themselves will face serious consequences.”
HUD-OIG Special Agent in Charge Barry McLaughlin stated, “HUD-OIG will continue to investigate housing commission employees that fraudulently place their personal greed ahead of the needy families of Michigan and their duty to the people of this state.”
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case was investigated by special agents of the FBI and the HUD-Office of Inspector General with the assistance of Michigan State Housing Development Authority.