Two local women charged with Section 8 housing fraud
by Staff Report
Sep 03, 2010 | 3780 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Two local women were arrested and charged in a federal and state operation targeting Georgians who fraudulently obtain federal funding for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program.

Bartow County Sheriff's Office officials assisted the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in Operation Clean House, which included the arrests of Demetria Renee Davis, 34, of 18 Briarwood Lane, Cartersville, and Ladonna Rae Wilkerson, 48, of 4243 Apache Drive, Acworth.

Both women were charged with making false statements and theft by deception.

GBI Spokesman John Bankhead said the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development contacted agents for assistance in the crackdown. There was a similar operation in south Georgia last year.

Eighty people across the state were charged in the operation, and HUD says the fraud involved totaled about $1.1 million.

The sweep targeted people who lied about their income and the number of people living in their homes who added to the household income.

"The state and federal governments, as well as the people they serve, have a responsibility to ensure that federal funds for the Section 8 program go to those truly in need," said Dennis Williams Jr., Georgia Department of Community Affairs assistant commissioner of the Rental Assistance Division.

DCA manages the Section 8 housing choice voucher program, which can pay upwards of three quarters of a household's rent, in 149 Georgia counties.

Section 8 is the federal government's major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly and the disabled to afford decent, safe and sanitary housing in the private market.

Since housing assistance is provided on behalf of the family or individual, participants are able to find their own housing, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments.

Agents plan to continue cracking down on Section 8 fraudsters. The average participant family has two to three members and receives $600 to $1,000 per month in a housing subsidy.