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Document and Benefit Fraud
04/11/2014

Manager of HUD Section 8 housing found guilty of bribery, false statements

NEW YORK — A manager of the federally subsidized Tricham Houses in Manhattan was found guilty April 11 of accepting bribes and conspiracy to accept bribes in connection with federal program funds and providing false statements relating to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) certifications.

This conviction follows an investigation led by HUD; Office of Inspector General (OIG), with assistance by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.
Novelette "Pat" Campbell, 55, of the Bronx, was convicted after a one-week trial before U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels.

"Instead of helping applicants who sought affordable housing, Ms. Campbell and her associates helped themselves to thousands of dollars in bribes and gifts from individuals who knew they were ineligible to receive government assistance," said James T. Hayes Jr., special agent in charge of HSI New York. "HSI and its law enforcement partners will continue to preserve the integrity of federally funded programs."

"Friday's verdict should send a strong message to those individuals who fail to exercise integrity in connection with HUD, we will vigorously pursue investigation and prosecution of all involved in order to maintain the integrity of our programs," said HUD OIG Special Agent in Charge Christina Scaringi. "Ms. Campbell's case is especially egregious in that not only did she intentionally violate the Department's trust, she violated the trust of dozens of eligible families who followed the rules and waited years for a decent place to call home. Working in partnership with HSI, the U.S. Attorney's Office, and HUD OIG, we will continue to aggressively pursue allegations of corrupt management agent behavior."

"As a unanimous jury found, for over a decade, Novelette "Pat" Campbell exploited her position as a manager of the Tricham Houses in Manhattan by illegally trading prime spots on the waiting list for federally subsidized apartments in exchange for cash," said Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. "Her bribery scheme was uncovered by the dedicated investigators at HUD OIG and ICE HSI, and she now stands convicted after trial for her crimes."

According to the indictment, as well as evidence presented at Campbell's trial, Campbell accepted bribes and engaged in a conspiracy to accept bribes from April 2000 through October 2011 from individuals who were not on a waiting list for subsidized housing at Tricham Housing. Rather than maintain the integrity of the waiting list and process applications in a first-come, first-serve basis as required by HUD, Campbell sold spots on the waiting list for bribes. The people who paid bribes took apartments away from people who were on the waiting list for years, but never received apartments because Campbell sold their spots for bribes. Campbell accepted bribes ranging from $2,000 through $9,000, depending on the size of the apartment.

In addition, Campbell falsified HUD certifications by falsely representing that all administrative procedures had been followed, when they had not, and, on two occasions, forged the signature of a tenant. Campbell also altered original tenant applications for Section 8 housing to falsely add bribe payers as relatives of original applicants.

Campbell was convicted of six counts relating to accepting bribes in connection with federal program funds, conspiracy to accept bribes in connection with federal program funds, and four counts of false statements to HUD. The charges relating to accepting bribes in connection with federal program funds carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The count charging conspiracy to accept bribes in connection with federal program funds carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Each of the counts charging false statements funds carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.

Campbell is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Daniels on Aug. 12, at 10:00 a.m.

Bharara noted that the investigation is continuing.