Fraud

Fraud

Housing fraud is any action, or failure to act, that allows a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program participant or landlord to receive benefits for which they don’t qualify. The public housing agency has a department that initiates investigations of a participating households in the event of one or more of the following circumstances:

Referrals, Complaints, or Tips

The department will take action on referrals from other agencies, companies or persons which are received by mail, by telephone, or in person, which allege that a participant or landlord is in non-compliance with, or violating the obligations or any other program rules.  Follow up may be made if the referral contains at least one item of information that is independently verifiable. A copy of the allegation will be retained in the household or landlord file.

Internal File Review

If department staff discovers, through a certification, recertification, an interim recertification, or a quality control review, that there are facts in conflict with previous file data, the department will take into consideration the following:

  1. The seriousness of the offense and the extent of participation of individual family members
  2. Any special circumstances surrounding the case
  3. Any mitigating circumstances related to the disability of a household member
  4. The effects of a particular remedy on household members who were not involved in the offense.

In the case of landlord-caused errors or program abuse, the department will take into consideration the following:

  1. The seriousness of the offense,
  2. The length of time since the violation has occurred, and
  3. The effects of a particular remedy on household members who were not involved in the offense.

The department will inform the relevant party in writing of its findings and upon conclusion of the investigation. The notice will include:

  1. A description of the error or program abuse,
  2. The basis on which the PHA determined the error or program abuses
  3. The action to be taken
  4. The right to appeal the results through the informal review or hearing process, if applicable.

Allegations of Possible Abuse and Fraud

Participating renters and landlords will also be encouraged to report suspected abuse to the HCV Program. The PHA will take one of the following actions on allegations that appear to be verifiable:

  1. An internal file review will be conducted to determine if the allegation is probable. It will be determined if the department or any other entity must take action. Any documentation of past behavior as well as corroborating complaints will be evaluated.
  2. If at the conclusion of the preliminary review there are facts which conflict with file data, and are independently verifiable, the department in charge of Fraud and Abuse Investigation will initiate an investigation to determine if the allegation is true or false.

If it is determined that an allegation or referral warrants action, the department will initiate an investigation. The department is required to secure a written authorization from the program participant for the release of information.  If the participant does not sign the release, the household’s assistance can be terminated.