In an apparent first, six women posed as victims of domestic violence in order to jump to the top of the wait-list for government subsidized apartments, officials say. Over 127,000 families are on the New York City Housing Authority’s waiting list for Section 8 vouchers, which can be worth thousands of dollars a year. Qualifying tenants who get the vouchers pay 30 percent of their adjusted gross income toward the rent, and the government picks up the rest. And these women, who were all arrested over a period of four months, almost got away with it!
But an eagle-eyed Housing Authority manager noticed similarities in some police reports and other documents filed by the suspects, who are accused of forging police reports and court orders to portray themselves as victims of domestic violence. If convicted, they could each face seven years in prison.
It's not clear if the six women collaborated, and each one is being charged separately. But they're definitely fraud pioneers: Rose Gill Hearn, the commissioner of the city’s Department of Investigation, tells the Times, "This is the first time that D.O.I. has investigated and uncovered individuals who are engaging in housing fraud by posing as victims of domestic violence."