Sunday, March 27, 2016

Postal Inspectors Bag Suspect Accused Of Targeting Poor Renters, Clipping Over 250 Unwitting Victims Out Of Upfront Fees In Exchange For False Promises Of Getting Them Section 8 Housing Subsidy Vouchers

In Providence, Rhode Island, WJAR-TV Channel 10 reports:
  • If you're looking to take advantage of federal housing help, keep an eye out because there are scammers making fraudulent offers.

    An ad claims it can help save renters hundreds of dollars with a Section 8 voucher.

    "They had to send a $10 check or money order for the initial application," said Christopher Cizin, a US postal inspector. "They were notified they were approved, and they needed to send $299 for the second phase."

    Section 8 Housing is federally-funded assistance for almost 5 million low income households.

    Postal inspectors said the ads were placed in penny-saver magazines, with more than 250 victims losing thousands of dollars.

    "The victims were extremely sad and scared because the money that they paid to the scam was money that they could have right now to pay for their current rent," said Cizin.

    Postal inspectors in New York caught up with the suspect after one of his employees became suspicious.

    "They saw a lot of money coming in, and nobody was receiving what they were doing, they felt like it was a scam," said Cizin. "As far as we know, he was taking the money and spending it on himself."

    Mirza Orriols of the Housing & Urban Development Department shared similar sentiments.

    "It is unfortunate that we do have folks that do this type of scams," said Orriols. "Sometimes they prey on the very elderly, the very poor folks that don't know any better or don't have this information, and that is a shame."

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