2006-06-16 / Community

Investigators Crack Down On Housing Cheats

By Brian Magoolaghan

Four Rockaway residents were arrested after city investigators discovered they were involved in housing fraud schemes that cheated the Big Apple out of thousands of dollars, the Department of Investigation announced last week.

The Rockaway residents, along with five people from other parts of Queens, fraudulently received more than $131,000 in rent subsidies from the New York City Housing Authority by hiding income or assets to collect housing benefits that they weren't entitled to, or to pay a lot less rent than they should have, according to DOI Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn.

The Rockaway residents who face charges are: Sharon McCants, 32, of 25-43 Beach Channel Drive in Far Rockaway. McCants, a Section 8 recipient until March 2006, allegedly concealed her income - reporting only her fianc’s income from work or unemployment - on her yearly income affidavit with the NYCHA. She allegedly defrauded NYCHA out of more than $32,000 over a five-year period. Jacqueline Latimore, 40, a resident of the Ocean Bay Houses. Latimore allegedly collected more than $10,000 from NYCHA and more than $17,500 from the Human Resources Administration by failing to report her income from her employment as a housekeeper at a nursing home.

Rosemary Jones, 38, a Hammel Houses resident. Jones allegedly used her married name, Francis, at her job as a nursing home laundry aide in order to conceal her income. She is accused of failing to disclose her earnings on her annual income affidavit with NYCHA, so she could receive more than $12,000 in housing subsidies.

Robert Vasquez, 41, a Hammel Houses resident. Vasquez allegedly concealed his work for the New York City Health and Hospitals Cooperation and received more than $6,000 in housing subsidies that he wasn't entitled to.

The investigations were conducted by NYCHA and will be prosecuted by Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown's office.

"We will continue to monitor and crack down on individuals who would steal valuable taxpayer-funded benefits," said Gill Hearn.

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