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New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, Jefferson County District Attorney Kristyna S. Mills, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General (HUD OIG), and the New York State Police today announced the pleas of former West Carthage Housing Authority (WCHA) Executive Director Jan Hoffman for stealing over $48,000 in WCHA funds, and Katherine (Katie) Pais, Hoffman’s mother and former WCHA consultant, for aiding in and concealing the scheme.

“Hoffman and Pais brazenly diverted funds meant to support seniors and individuals with disabilities to line their own pockets,” DiNapoli said. “Thanks to the partnership between my office, Jefferson County District Attorney Kristyna S. Mills, the HUD Inspector General, and the State Police, they have been held accountable for their actions.”

“The fraud committed by the defendants diverted critical taxpayer money that was intended to benefit elderly and-low-income families in our communities," said Special Agent-in-Charge Vicky Vazquez with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General. “HUD OIG remains steadfast in its commitment to working with our prosecutorial, law enforcement and oversight partners to aggressively pursue those who engage in activities that threaten the integrity of HUD programs.”

New York State Police Superintendent Steven G. James said, “The individuals charged in this case stole funds from unsuspecting citizens, using the money for their own personal benefit. We will not tolerate the conduct of those who take advantage of their position to steal money that was meant to benefit people in need. I commend everyone who worked on this case – our members and all our partners – who have now ensured that the two people responsible for this crime are held fully accountable.”

Hoffman served as the executive director of WCHA, a government-funded apartment complex for low-income senior citizens and individuals with disabilities, from 2016 to 2021. Pais, Hoffman’s mother, was hired by the WCHA board and served as accounts payable bookkeeper from 2016 to 2020.

Based upon an anonymous tip, Comptroller DiNapoli’s Office and the HUD OIG commenced an investigation of all monies controlled by Hoffman and found that she had been making personal purchases with housing authority funds since 2016, her entire tenure as executive director. In total, Hoffman stole over $48,000 from WCHA by using WCHA’s financial accounts and credit lines for unauthorized personal expenses including retail purchases, personal cell phone bills, and groceries. Additionally, Hoffman submitted over $1,000 in false reimbursements.

Through her role as the accounts payable bookkeeper, Pais facilitated and concealed Hoffman’s theft. Pais was responsible for reviewing claims and preparing checks for payment. Pais not only knew about Hoffman’s continuous theft and failed to report it to the board, but also made the illicit payments and then falsified records to cover for her daughter.

Hoffman pled to Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, charged as a crime of public corruption and Pais pled to Corrupting the Government in the Fourth Degree before Judge David A. Renzi at Jefferson County Court. The defendants are due back in court for sentencing on August 6, 2024.