Thursday, December 22, 2016

Section 8 Tenant Scores $13,500 Share (Out Of Total $75K Tab) In Settlement Of Gov't Whistleblower Lawsuit Filed Against Sneaky Landlord For Allegedly Clipping Her For Extra Secret Rent In Excess Of Amount Agreed To & Approved By Housing Agency

From the Office of the U.S. Attorney (Sacramento, California):
  • United States Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced [] the resolution of federal False Claims Act allegations against Leatha Henderson for allegedly submitting false claims in connection with her participation as a landlord in the federal housing subsidy program. [...] This program is more commonly known as “Section 8.”

    Regulations implementing the Section 8 program provide that participating low-income tenants pay 30 to 40 percent of their adjusted monthly income toward their rent and utilities, and the federally funded program pays the balance.

    Henderson contracted with [the Sacramento Housing & Redevelopment Agency - "SHRA"] in order to participate in the Section 8 program and receive government payments for her Sacramento rental property between June 2007 and May 2013.
    ***
    The HAP Contract restricted Henderson from charging rent to the tenant in excess of the Tenant Share as designated by SHRA based on the tenant’s income. Today’s settlement resolves allegations that Henderson falsely certified compliance with this rental payment restriction and fraudulently collected rental payments from both the United States and the tenant during the term of the tenancy.

    Charging in excess of the agreed tenant rate frustrates a primary goal of this important program: to provide affordable housing to low-income families,” said United States Attorney Talbert. “Landlords participating in the Section 8 program will be strictly held to their obligations under the governing regulations.”

    “A landlord’s participation in the Section 8 program is voluntary,” said HUD Regional Administrator Jon Gresley. “When they choose to participate, they agree to fulfill certain responsibilities, including charging tenants no more than what they must pay in rent so that their homes remain affordable. HUD will continue upholding this standard, as it safeguards the program’s integrity and secures the public’s trust.”

    The allegations resolved by the settlement were first raised in a lawsuit filed against Henderson(1) under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act by Sondra Madden, the tenant involved in the subject Section 8 tenancy.

    The False Claims Act allows private citizens with knowledge of fraud to bring civil actions on behalf of the government and to share in any recovery. The whistleblower in this matter will receive approximately $13,500 of the recovery.

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