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A former Stuart Housing Authority employee pled guilty today to stealing government funds from the federal Housing Choice Voucher Program.

Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Nadine Gurley, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG), made the announcement.

Cynthia Cabrera, 49, of Port St. Lucie, Florida, pled guilty today to one count of theft of government funds (Case No. 19-14014-CR-Rosenberg).  She is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robin L. Rosenberg, in Fort Pierce, on June 12, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.  Cabrera faces a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The Housing Choice Voucher Program is the federal government's main program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market.  Since housing assistance is provided on behalf of the family or individual, participants are able to find their own housing, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments. The participant is free to choose any housing that meets the requirements of the program and is not limited to units located in subsidized housing projects.

Housing choice vouchers are administered locally by public housing agencies that receive federal funds from HUD.  The Stuart Housing Authority is one such public housing agency.  A housing subsidy is paid to the landlord directly by the public housing agency, on behalf of the participating family.  The family then pays the difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program...