Couple Sent to Prison for Scheme to Steal HUD Funds Intended for the Cotton Plant Housing Authority

Date Published: 
August 1, 2017
News Type: 
Press Releases
Program Area(s): 
Community Planning and Development

LITTLE ROCK—Patrick C. Harris, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Tracey D. Montaño, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation Division, and Phyllis G. Robinson, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)—Office of Inspector General, announced today that Chief United States District Judge Brian S. Miller sentenced Rhonda Williams, 50, and her husband, Gary Williams, 59, both of Des Arc, Arkansas, to prison for their role in a scheme to steal money intended for use by the Cotton Plant Housing Authority.

On September 2, 2016, Rhonda Williams and Gary Williams appeared before Judge Miller and pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit bank fraud and money laundering. Today, Judge Miller sentenced Rhonda Williams to 37 months’ imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release. In the same hearing, Judge Miller sentenced Gary Williams to 24 months of federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. The Williams were jointly ordered to pay restitution of $732,177.80 and to forfeit $145,000 in cash seized from their home, the money in four bank accounts, a boat, and an SUV.

“These defendants took public money that was meant to provide affordable housing to a low income population, and instead used it for their own personal gain,” Harris said. “This case is an example of how our office will continue working tirelessly to protect the public and eliminate this unacceptable fraud, waste, and abuse.”

The Cotton Plant Housing Authority received its annual operating funds from HUD in the form of an annual distribution. Rhonda Williams served as the Executive Director of the Housing Authority and Gary Williams was the Housing Authority’s Maintenance Supervisor...