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Ex-officials at housing agencies plead guilty to crimes

Posted September 12, 2013

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— Two former executives of the Goldsboro Housing Authority have pleaded guilty to a kickback scheme, and a former executive of the Wilson Housing Authority has pleaded guilty to falsifying documents, federal authorities said Thursday.

Gene Dexter Thomas, 60, of Goldsboro, and Robert Gerald Coggins, 59, of Knoxville, Tenn., each pleaded guilty to unlawful conversion of federal funds. They will be sentenced later and face up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 fines.

Prosecutors said Thomas, the former executive director of the Goldsboro Housing Authority, and Coggins, the former assistant director, doctored time sheets for more than nine years to make it appear that Coggins worked 20 hours a week at the authority when he actually retired in August 2002.

The scheme ensured that the housing authority met its requirement of having an executive who was a licensed contractor because the agency was involved in constructing housing for low-income individuals. In exchange for signing the phony time sheets, Coggins received $10,000 a year from the housing authority, prosecutors said.

In a separate case, Rossalyn Wright Farmer, 55, of Wilson, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to make false statements and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. She will be sentenced later and faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Prosecutors said Farmer, the former director of housing services at the Wilson Housing Authority, backdated housing assistance payment contracts, rental contracts and other documents in the middle of an audit by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to make it appear that she had all of the needed paperwork for the agency's federal housing subsidies.

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  • Scubagirl Sep 13, 2013

    guess lsd decided to take his toys and words and vanish.....

  • Mom2two Sep 12, 2013

    I managed a tax-credit property for senior citizens, and had to deal with Raleigh Housing Authority. I found the employees I had to deal with concerning Section 8 tenants, to be extremely arrogant and I sat in a training session where the speakers could not have been more condescending. I was appalled. Additionally, I worked for a management company that intentionally withheld pertinent information from NC Housing Finance, and Wake County Revitalization regarding certification, and violated some major provisions for tax credit properties, and those agencies did nothing when it was brought to their attention. (I quit at that point). So while there are, indeed, those that care and do a good job, there are way too many that do not, are corrupt, incompetent, apathetic, and/or arrogant.

  • outdoor592000 Sep 12, 2013

    Food stamp......Well said!

  • foodstamptrader Sep 12, 2013

    "Playing the subsidized housing game by HUD's rules is not easy. But it can be done and is done, day after day by people who care." - lsdhome

    Yea, we see how it's "done". This is the problem when your job is giving away other peoples money: corruption, scandal, waste, fraud.

    And, yes embezzlement and fraud happens plenty in the private sector, no doubt about it. The problem is, that with government you are stealing, mismanaging, and wasting the public's tax money. Big difference.

    I for one am tired of the endless scandals and waste in this sector. They should shut most of these agencies down...

  • Scubagirl Sep 12, 2013

    I resent your remark.....

    You may resent my remark all you'd like. I did not specifically mean it's becoming the norm among public housing professionals specifically rather public FIGURES/organizations. and I don't really care who you are, would not have 'blamed' anyone rather I would have responded to YOU specifically lsd....

    are you a little touchy for some reason?

  • lsdhome Sep 12, 2013

    Hey, scubagirl... the contributor who just called your hand was the undersigned:

    Lee S. Downie
    Box 265
    Henrico, NC 27842

    I wouldn't want you to blame it on someone else.

  • lsdhome Sep 12, 2013

    Hello there, outdoor592000-- ever run across embezzlement or chiseling in private industry? It happens.

  • lsdhome Sep 12, 2013

    No, Scubagirl, it's not the norm among public housing professionals. On behalf of the hundreds of honest, hardworking public housing officials in North Carolina, I resent your remark.

    This story came as a shock and a deep disappointment to me as Mr. Thomas was for many years a thoroughly competent and recognized "good guy" in our field. I cannot imagine the unreported causes of the actions he apparently took.

    Playing the subsidized housing game by HUD's rules is not easy. But it can be done and is done, day after day by people who care.

  • outdoor592000 Sep 12, 2013

    This is just the ones they caught. How many out there do this stuff everyday in govt. positions?

  • Scubagirl Sep 12, 2013

    This is SO not a surprise.....it's becoming the norm

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