A former South Jersey borough councilor stole $ 14,385 by under-reporting his income in order to pay the reduced rent for a federally-subsidized apartment, the acting New Jersey attorney general said Tuesday, Andrew J. Bruck.
Carl Washington Jr., 48, who previously served on the Penns Grove board, was charged Tuesday with third degree theft by deception following a joint investigation by the AG’s office and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The investigation began when investigators learned that managers at the Penns Grove Gardens apartment complex attempted to evict Washington in January 2019 because they believed he had sublet his Article 8 apartment to someone else who was arrested for drug trafficking in the apartment, according to the attorney general’s announcement.
Investigators then learned that Washington allegedly underreported his income to the apartment management company in order to pay rent of $ 92 per month in 2017 and 2018, only reporting his income from his position on the board of directors. arrondissement.
If he had reported his full income, which included money from two other jobs, he would not have qualified for subsidized housing and his rent would have been $ 494 in 2017 and $ 760 in 2018, Bruck said. in the ad.
The $ 14,385 is the difference between what he paid and what he should have paid in rent.
“Section 8 housing assistance is intended to help low-income families by subsidizing rent, and we will not tolerate fraudulent acts that undermine the program by embezzling necessary funds,” Bruck said in a statement. . “We are committed to working with the HUD Inspector General’s office to stop the fraud and ensure that this assistance reaches those who are truly eligible. “
If convicted of the charge, Washington faces three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $ 15,000.
Efforts to reach his lawyer on Tuesday evening were unsuccessful.
The AG’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability has a toll-free hotline, 1-844-OPIA-TIPS, for the public to report corruption. The AG has an anti-corruption reward program that offers a reward of up to $ 25,000 for tips leading to a conviction for public corruption. Learn more online.
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Matt Gray can be reached at [email protected].