Former St. Clair Housing Commission official accused of conspiring to steal $336,000

Date Published: 
March 23, 2018
News Type: 
Program Area(s): 
Public and Indian Housing

(Source: clickondetroit) ST. CLAIR COUNTY, Mich. - The former executive of the St. Clair Housing Commission was sentenced Wednesday in connection with the conspiracy to commit fraud and steal more than $336,000 in federal funds.

Lorena Loren was sentenced to 37 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to commit federal program fraud, U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said.

Loren, 55, of Nicholls, Georgia, admitted to conspiring with several family members to steal federal funds provided to the commission by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The money was supposed to be used to administer HUD's low-income housing programs in St. Clair County.

Loren said she engaged in various fraudulent schemes to obtain more than $336,000 in federal funds.

According to federal court records, Loren stole around $162,000 earmarked for HUD's Housing Choice Voucher Program, which helps low-income families lease privately owned rental properties.

Stolen money benefiting family members

Between August 2008 and August 2016, Loren entered into contracts from which she and nearly all of her immediate family members directly benefited, officials said. This violated HUD's regulations and guidelines.

Loren and several relatives also falsely claimed they owned rental properties that were owned by others, federal officials said.

As executive director, Loren fraudulently issued Section 8 rental subsidy payments to relatives, sometimes even in the names of former Section 8 tenants who were no longer in the program, officials said.

Loren also directed her family members to establish joint bank accounts to facilitate access to the funds by various members of the family, according to authorities...