(Source: buffalonews.com) Stephanie W. Cowart, former executive director of the Niagara Falls Housing Authority, admitted Wednesday to working with her son and daughter-in-law to steal $17,580 from the authority and the state.

Cowart, who appeared before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara, pleaded guilty to theft of federal funds and acknowledged signing off on a teaching job and a training program that illegally benefited the couple.

Allen and Fredia Cowart are expected to plead guilty to misdemeanor charges in connection with the thefts.

"She made a mistake," defense lawyer Michael A. Battle said of Stephanie Cowart. "It wasn't with any malace. She was just being a mom."

A Falls native, Cowart, 58, is a 34-year veteran of the housing authority and served as executive director for nine years. She was put on paid administrative leave...