3 headed to prison for stealing from Section 8 programs in Michigan
ST. CLAIR COUNTY, Mich. (FOX 2) - Three family members of the former St. Clair Housing Commission executive director are headed to prison for stealing from Section 8 programs.
Housing commission director Lorena Loren, who has since died, previously pleaded guilty to conspiring with several family members to steal federal funds provided to the commission by HUD to administer low-income housing programs in the county. She was sentenced to 37 months in prison.
As part of the scheme, Lorena stole approximately $336,000 in federal funds, including money for HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher program, otherwise known as Section 8 housing, which allows low-income families to lease privately owned rental properties with the assistance of HUD rental subsidies.
On Monday, Lorena's husband, 61-year-old Brian Loren, her son 36-year-old Ryan Loren, and Ryan's wife, 33-year-old Kayla Loren, were all sentenced.
Brian was sentenced to 9 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to commit federal program fraud of approximately $73,000. According to court records, he conspired with Lorena and others to embezzle money from the housing commission.
Brian Loren and another individual opened a joint bank account at a PNC Bank in Deland, Florida. Between August 2014 and August 2016, fraudulent Section 8 rental subsidy payments were issued to the PNC Joint Account Holder to benefit Lorena, Brian, and the PNC Joint Account Holder.
Ryan was sentenced to 11 months in prison after pleading guilty to receiving unlawful compensation from HUD with the intent to defraud. Ryan admitted that, from August 2008 through August 2016, he made false statements to HUD regarding where he lived in order to receive improper funds from HUD, and later he lied about it during his testimony before a federal grand jury. Ryan agreed that he illegally received between $40,000 and $95,000, authorities said.
Kayla was also sentenced to 11 months in prison after pleading guilty to receiving unlawful compensation from HUD with the intent to defraud. Like her husband, Kayla Loren admitted that, from August 2010 through August 2016, she made false statements to HUD regarding who lived with her in order to receive improper funds from HUD. Kayla admitted that she had also lied about her actions while testifying before a federal grand jury. Kayla Loren also agreed that she received between $40,000 and $95,000.
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The three were required to pay restitution owed to HUD prior to sentencing. The total amount paid was $99,835.29. For the whole case, $336,340.22 in restitution has been repaid to HUD as a result of the prosecutions of the Loren family.
"The HUD Section 8 program serves some of the neediest in our community, very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled. We are committed to prosecuting public officials who steal from any federal program and anyone who assists public officials in depriving lawfully-entitled citizens of the vital assistance they need. We are equally committed to prosecuting anyone who lies before a grand jury. Truthful testimony under oath is the foundation of the American system of justice. There will be penalties for those who attempt to erode that foundation," U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison said.