Report Fraud. It Matters
Report Fraud. It Matters. (HACA's Jurisdiction ONLY)
- Post 07 October 2008
- Last Updated on 27 August 2012
- By Ron Dion
- Hits: 18870
Do you know a Public Housing tenant or a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) Participant who is...
- Not reporting that the head of household’s significant other/life partner lives in the unit
- Not reporting everyone living in the unit, even if they’re just "staying there"
- Not reporting that a family member has started work or has unreported income like an undeclared in-home childcare business (A home-based business is allowed as long as the tenant has declared the income from it.)
- Not reporting that children have left home
- Renting out the assisted unit, or a bedroom in the assisted unit, to someone else
- Falsifying documents or signatures.
Do you know a HCVP Landlord who is...
- Soliciting and/or receiving extra rent on the side
- Renting to relatives without approval from HACA
- Accepting payment from HACA for a vacant unit, or a unit in which the program participant no longer lives
- Living in the same unit as the family.
If you do, you know someone who is committing housing fraud
Housing fraud is any action or failure to act that allows a Public Housing tenant, Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) participant, or HCVP landlord to receive benefits for which the person doesn't qualify. A person who knowingly withholds information, fails to report a change in the family's circumstances, or otherwise engages in activity prohibited by program regulations, is a benefit thief--stealing benefits from families in need who legitimately qualify for them.
The vast majority of families receiving housing assistance from HACA, and HCVP landlords, are honest and follow program rules. Regardless, HACA is committed to the integrity and effectiveness of its housing programs and operations. This includes preventing, detecting and prosecuting waste, fraud and abuse when it does happen – including by using tips, whether self-identified or anonymous.
You Can Help by Reporting Fraud
Help keep the money where it belongs--assisting families in need who meet program qualifications. Report incidences of fraud promptly while the facts are still fresh in your mind. HACA’s Fraud Hot-Line at (510) 727-8519 and HACA's Report Fraud Form, are each confidential ways to report fraud. Provide as much information as you can. Describe what happened in detail. Around what dates did you notice the suspect activity? Why does it appear to you to be fraud? Are there documents that support your claim (such as a side contract between the owner and tenant, a phone bill proving residence at another location, etc.)? Also, it's very helpful if you have the names and contact information of people willing to talk to an investigator.
Reports that are too vague or that can't be supported by documentation and/or corroborating witnesses may result in having to close the investigation without any action being taken.
You don’t have to give us your name. Even if you do, it will be kept confidential.
Please submit only one form per incident.
(Apart from fraud, you may observe something that you suspect is unlawful. Suspected crime should always be promptly reported to the local police department. For information about reporting what appears to be a crime, see "About Reporting Crime".)
All Reports Are Kept Confidential
The information that you provide to HACA is strictly confidential. HACA's fraud investigations are conducted by its Program Integrity Officer (PIO). HACA's PIO is an Alameda County District Attorney's Office Investigator charged with obtaining facts and evidence about possible fraud and violation of applicable laws and regulations. When information is brought forward about possible fraud, the PIO conducts an independent investigation--without revealing the name of any person that has brought information to HACA's attention. In conducting the investigation, the PIO may review documents, interview neighbors, employers and others, conduct surveillance, and question suspects. The PIO may review police records, use computer databases of information such as income, assets, and places of residence, and work with other law enforcement agencies.
If the PIO finds that a case cannot be proven without using information that would reveal the identity of the informant, the PIO will contact you for permission to release your identity. If you don't give permission, your name will not be used but the case may not be able to go forward.
Because of confidentiality requirements, HACA is not able to make any statements regarding the status of any investigation or results. Investigations, and the process of terminating housing assistance and prosecuting the offender can be lengthy. Don't assume that no action is being taken simply because you continue to see the family living in the same unit.
Penalties for Public Housing tenants or HCVP Participants Who Commit Fraud Include:
- Termination from the Program
- Recapture of over-payments
- Criminal prosecution
- Debarment from participating in the Program
Penalties for Property Owners Who Commit Fraud Include:
- Termination of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Contract
- Recapture of HAP payments
- Prosecution under federal statutes
Note: The HACA "Report Fraud Form" above is ONLY for reporting fraud within HACA's jurisdiction. Please see HACA's jurisdiction for the localities we serve. HACA is NOT affiliated with either the Oakland Housing Authority or the Alameda City Housing Authority.