BY BROOKE SMITH
The New York City Department of Investigation arrested four Queens residents in a citywide sting Friday for allegedly obtaining housing assistance fraudulently.
Richmond Hill residents Deonandan Singh and Tarametee Singh, Jamaica resident Susan Jarrett and Queens resident Ethel Evans were arrested with 13 other individuals from surrounding boroughs in a housing fraud sweep that took place over the last five weeks.
The schemes involved collecting public housing subsidies for a section apartment while illegally renting out the apartment to a friend and residing elsewhere. Under Section 8 rules, it is illegal to collect subsidies and fail to report the income and presence of spouses and friends. The DOI has been working with prosecutors such as the Queens District Attorney and the Office of the City Comptroller on these investigations.
“This pernicious fraud undermines government’s efforts to ensure affordable housing for some of the most vulnerable in New York City,” said DOI Commissioner Mark G. Peters. “Working with our law enforcement partners, DOI is finding these schemes and shutting them down, as demonstrated in the more than three dozen housing fraud arrests made this year.”
The DOI has arrested 39 individuals this year on charges of housing fraud involving both Section 8 subsidies and conventional public housing subsidies. The New York City Housing Authority and the City Department of Housing and Preservation provide these housing subsidies associated with the theft of more than $1.4 million in public funds.
“These fraudsters engaged in the most reprehensible kind of conduct – stealing scarce housing resources from our most vulnerable citizens, while at the same time lining their own pockets,” City Comptroller Scott M. Stinger said.
Upon conviction, each suspect could face between five and 10 years behind bars.