President Trump’s decision to install Ben Carson as the new Housing and Urban Development secretary is proving to have been very wise.
According to Judicial Watch, many employees working for HUD have been embezzling and wasting thousands of dollars. Lorena Loren, executive director of HUD in Michigan was caught stealing $336,000 from low-income families.
Loren served as the executive director for the St. Clair Housing Commission branch in Michigan. There she oversaw the implementation of Section 8 housing programs in the area. These housing programs were intended to provide inexpensive affordable housing for low-income families, such as the elderly or disabled who might not be able to afford housing on their own.
A probe into the HUD program revealed that for the last eight years Loren has been funneling money from her government credit cards to buy personal items for herself and her family. Purchases were made for things like food, clothing, medicine, appliances, furniture, and even alcohol. She even used $24,600 to pay rent for her son.
In light of these shocking crimes, Loren has been charged with intent to commit federal fraud and could face five years in prison.
Yet Loren is not alone. Countless employees on all levels have been funneling money out of the program. In 2013, HUD Inspector General David A. Montoya, testified before Congress that there was evidence of corruption and embezzlement in the program in nearly every state across the country.
In his testimony, Montoya stated that more than $200 million dollars had been siphoned from the program through various Public Housing Agencies in the last year. These agencies, meant to provide mortgage payment assistance and government housing, were using these funds for questionable purposes.
No doubt, this discovery was a result of Ben Carson taking the helm of HUD back in March. According to the Hill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), believed Carson would bring the needed changes to the program: “[He] can begin bringing much needed reforms to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.”
Following his confirmation, Carson told those in attendance that he would conduct “listening sessions” with housing officials in states across the country to identify potential problems. And even though Carson has little experience in politics, being a former neurosurgeon, and saying to reporters that his role in HUD “would be like a fish out of water,” his attentiveness to identifying problems with HUD has already yielded results.
According to BND News, Ben Carson was so disturbed by the level of corruption and neglect in the program in East St. Louis, Missouri, that he turned over control of the program to local authorities rather than have HUD continue overseeing it.
HUD has been in control of the area since 1985 when it claimed there were “governance issues.” The real governance issues have revealed themselves over three decades later when residents filed a class-action lawsuit against HUD, pointing to homes infested with vermin, lack of heat, faulty appliances, and ceilings in such a state of disrepair that pieces would fall into residents’ food while they were cooking.
Loren’s embezzlement scheme and the disturbing disarray of the East St. Louis Housing Authority reveal that HUD is nestled deep in the swamp of corruption. Hopefully, Carson’s efforts to fix and rejuvenate the program will be able to drain away some of the problems that have been plaguing it for years.