As with any other program, public housing is subject to a variety of fraud:
- False reporting of eligibility by tenants is a major problem. Government housing is available to those meeting certain eligibility requirements that generally involve information on one’s income and dependents. When income is underreported or the number of dependents is over-reported in order to qualify for government sponsored housing, it is fraud. This underreporting occurs when the renter fails to disclose income, fails to disclose cohabitation with another who has an income, conceals assets, etc. Over-reporting of dependents occurs when one falsely reports custody of children, provides false, forged or altered school or medical records, etc.
- Bribery of government officials or their agents to overlook false eligibility reporting by tenants is another significant problem.
- Fraud associated with the construction of public housing is subject to all types of fraud associated with procurement, contracting, contract management and construction in general.
Bribery of housing authority employees or subcontractors. Collect Housing Assistance Payment (HAPs) for properties not owned. Someone improperly poses as the legal agent. Accept HAPs for vacant apartments/homes. Having unauthorized persons living in the apartment/home. Using a voucher while receiving rental assistance from another agency.
Client is charged a fee for housing counseling services or charged an upfront fee for services.
Customer is pressured into signing paperwork.
Someone requests an advance fee to stop a customer's foreclosure or to get his loan modified.
Someone guarantees they can stop a foreclosure or modify a loan.
Someone advises a customer to stop paying his mortgage company and pay him instead.
Someone asks a customer to sign over a home deed or sign paperwork he has not read or understands.
Someone claims to offer "government-approved" or "official government" loans. A company asks for personal information online or over the phone.
HUD employees engage in bribery, contract bid rigging, embezzlement, or alter, forge or destroy records
Individual, groups, or businesses may steal monies from HUD, or waste HUD monies, or exceed the authority granted to them by HUD.
Rent overcharging. Charging for other services (maintenance fees, utilities, other), slot on wait list.
Tenant is charged a higher Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) than HUD authorized.
Missing or inaccurate rent receipt.
Criminal offense under 18 U.S.C.287,1343)
False Claims Act fines
Qui Tam available
How to report Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Rent Fraud
Tenant is charged excess rent for disallowed maintenance or utility costs, for other services, or to be placed on a housing waiting list.
Someone asks for money to help filling out a housing assistance application.
Someone charges for a housing assistance waiting list slot.
Charging more than lease amount for extra services.
No receipt for rent payment.
No receipt or written explanation for maintenance or utility charges.
Post awareness posters with housing fraud red flags:
Tenants falsify income or family size or alter official documents
Suspicious looking documents.
Institute a Fraud Prevention Policy
Require confidentiality statements