Ex-officials at housing agencies plead guilty to crimes
Posted September 12, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.