Rampant Fraud Revealed in Providence Public Housing

For all the money Murphy and Costa have been able to recover, residents have still managed to defraud the government out of millions of dollars, they say. Providence alone received $1.5 million per month from HUD specifically for Section 8 housing and Costa said the tips about people cheating the system are endless.

When it comes to investigating residents cheating the Providence Public Housing system, Dan Murphy and Jack Costa have seen it all.

There was the woman who was receiving subsidized housing based on a claim that she was bringing in no earned income until Murphy walked into the grocery store she owned on Elmwood Ave. and purchased a soda. The woman was forced to pay back $11,000.

There was the scheme a paralegal from a local law office pulled with her husband and elderly aunt that involved the use of both her maiden and married names to obtain a cheaper rent. She was found guilty of obtaining money under false pretenses and forced to pay back $13,000.

And of course, there was the recent case where a staffer in the Taveras administration was charged with conspiracy after investigators found she was renting a federally subsidized home from her stepfather for a decade, an act the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) forbids. She owes over $85,000.

Murphy, an investigator at the Providence Housing Authority (PHA) and Costa, a security operations manager at the PHA, are the primary players in the agency’s efforts to crack down on Section 8 fraud in the capital city. Their work has led to the arrests of 15 individuals in the past year and since fiscal year 2008, 137 residents have been kicked out of public housing after the investigators found they weren’t reporting their income.

The total amount they’ve managed to recover since FY 2008: $565,940.33


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