Monday, October 16, 2017

Reporting Fraud

Stopping Program Fraud and Abuse

The North Charleston Authority is committed to combating fraud, waste and program abuse. We take seriously any credible allegations regarding criminal activity, violations of program regulations or misconduct involving SAHA employees, contractors, vendors or clients. Alert eyes and ears of law-abiding citizens are often key to uncovering instances of wrongdoing.

What does the Housing Authority do to address program fraud?

The Housing Authority takes its responsibility as a public agency very seriously. The programs we administer are created and funded though federal, state or local government agencies.

It is our responsibility to make sure that program funds are used to assist as many people as we can who are qualified and eligible families.

The majority of the families we assist would never knowingly or unknowingly report false information or accept a rental subsidy that they were not entitled. However, incidents of fraud do take place every year.

How do I report a suspected case of fraud?

If you suspect program fraud, we encourage you to call the Housing Authority ‘s Fraud Officer and report it. Officer S. Midgett can be reached at (843) 266-5912 (from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday) or email nrowaylyn@northcharleston.org. He will contact you for more information about the situation.

While we do accept anonymous calls and letters, please be aware that we may not be able to act on the information if we do not have a way to contact the informant and ask additional questions.

To report suspected activity by mail, send information to the following address:

North Charleston Housing Authority
ATTN: Officer S. Midgett
2170 Ashley Phosphate Road, Suite 700
P. O. Box 70987
North Charleston, SC 29415-0987

How can I find out the out come of a fraud investigation?

Due to confidentiality requirements, we cannot tell an informant whether or not the person being reported is actually a Housing Authority client; whether or not the reported activity constitutes a program violation; or the outcome of the investigation.

How can I protect against program fraud in my own household?

The head of household is responsible for ensuring that all members of the household and, where applicable, their guests, follow program requirements and are accurately reporting their incomes.

Make sure your family members know that you could lose your housing assistance if they do not reveal their income, or otherwise violate program regulations. If you are not sure what you should report, just ask. It is your responsibility to report all information directly to us.

What happens when a person has been found guilty of fraud?

The penalties for fraud may include the following, depending on the type and severity of the fraud:

  • Prosecution, which could result in fines, imprisonment, and additional fraud investigations by other agencies.
  • The requirement to repay subsidy that was improperly paid.
  • Termination from the program.
  • Denial of requests to move or participate in other housing programs.
  • Restrictions preventing the family from receiving future housing assistance from any housing authority.

How does the Housing Authority investigate fraud?

We use many methods to investigate fraud by applicants, tenants, or owners, including but not limited to:

  • Interviews with friends, family, neighbors and surveillance of activities.
  • Use of government databases that provided records of income, assets, places of residences, criminal background check, and other information.
  • Work with law enforcement agencies and other public agencies to conduct joint investigations. We cooperate fully with law enforcements on criminal and civil prosecutions.

Most Fraud Cases Result From:

  • Failure to report income or assets, which are used to calculate the amount of rent a family will pay.
  • Failure to obtain permission for additional persons to live in the household, or to report their income and assets.
  • Unapproved or incorrect rent payments.
  • Failure to comply with program requirements.

Remember, if you are a Section 8 or Public Housing resident, you are required to report any change in household income or family members to North Charleston Housing Authority within 10 days.

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