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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of Inspector General (OIG), assisted the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut in the civil investigation of The Alphabet Group, LLC, Marks Group, LLC, and Imagineers, Inc. Alphabet and Marks are owners of residential housing in Hartford, CT, and Imagineers administers the Section 8 program for the City of Hartford Housing Authority.

On May 17, 2012, an individual (relator) filed a civil suit in the U.S. District Court of Connecticut against Alphabet and Marks (owners) and others, alleging that the owners violated the False Claims Act by charging higher rents for tenants who received rental assistance under the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program than for tenants in comparable unassisted units in the same premises.  The relator also alleged that Imagineers improperly approved the relator’s housing assistance payments contract because the monthly rent under the contract was more than the rent charged by Alphabet for comparable unassisted units in the same premises.

Alphabet, Marks and Imagineers admitted no fault in the action but reached separate settlements with the Federal Government to avoid the delay, uncertainty and expense of future litigation. On December 23, 2015, Imagineers reached a settlement with the Government and the relator for $30,000.  Of that amount, $3,500 was paid to the United States, and the balance will be paid to the relator and the relator’s attorneys. On February 19, 2016, Alphabet and Marks agreed to pay $4,000, of which $700 was paid to the United States and the balance will be paid to the relator and the relator’s attorneys.