Candidate Trump assured us that if he were to get elected, he would “drain the swamp”–the bureaucracy full of career politicians and criminals. Now, President Trump and Secretary of Housing & Urban Development Ben Carson are doubling down on this promise as more corruption exposes itself to the public.
According to Judicial Watch, corruption has plagued HUD for many years. Most recently, Lorena Loren, an executive director in the Michigan branch of HUD, was exposed as a fraud. She was caught embezzling upwards of $336,000 which she used as her own personal funds. Instead of helping others with the money as intended, Loren used the money to buy things such as clothes, makeup, and furniture for herself and her family.
It is hard to tell how long this scam had been going on. Loren worked in her position as the Executive Director of the St. Clair Housing Commission for years.
The group that she operated is part of Section 8, which is a Federal government program that establishes housing for very low-income families. In most cases, it is designed so that elderly and disabled people can find clean and safe homes–despite their wages.
At the very least, the embezzlement took place for eight years. During those eight years, Loren sported government (aka taxpayer) funded credit cards that she used freely on both herself and her relatives.
Detroit Free Press listed the official counts of the charges against her on their online publication. Their list is based on a charging document filed in US District Court.
Loren was not just using these government credit cards on herself. She was also using them to buy things for members of her family, particularly her husband and son, and her friends.
The court records show she managed to rack up $135,000 in Amazon purchases alone. In those Amazon charges, there were $60,000 in purchases of furniture, mattresses, appliances, and household items that were not shipped to her home, but to her relatives in Georgia and Florida.
There was $14,364 spent in the bulk-store Sam’s Club and another $16,460 spent through various Walmart locations. She bought everything from food to makeup to liquor.
A HUD employee was caught embezzling upwards of $336,000. Do you support Dr. Carson cleaning house at HUD?
The charges against Loren also include the embezzlement of nearly $25,000 in funds to pay for her son’s rental unit. She took it a step further and lied on government contracts, claiming her son-in-law was the landlord of the property that turned out to be her home.
Finally, she was also caught telling her family members to set up bank accounts. These accounts would then be wired federal rental subsidy payments. After the accounts were established and the money transferred, the family members with the accounts could use the money as they pleased.
It is clear that the corruption in some of our government agencies runs deeper than many of us ever imagined. As of right now, Loren is facing charges of conspiracy to commit federal program fraud, which could land her five years in federal prison. Ben Carson promised us integrity when he first took over HUD, and it seems that is exactly what the American people are finally getting.