2004-05-06 / Front Page

Canarsie Residents Arrested In Public Housing Scam

By Neil S. Friedman
Canarsie Residents Arrested In Public Housing Scam By Neil S. Friedman

By Neil S. Friedman

Two residents of Canarsie were among a dozen New Yorkers arrested last week following a six-month investigation for fraudulently receiving rent subsidies from the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), as well as posing as dead relatives in order to keep their rents low.

According to New York City’s Department of Investigation (DOI), Violet Liverpool, 39, and Michael Pierre, 57, both of 1414 East 102 Street, a two-story, semi-detached five-room dwelling, were charged with theft of public monies over a five year period. Liverpool was also charged with filing false documents in order to obtain public funds. They each face a maximum of 10 years in jail.

The DOI report stated that while Pierre collected over $40,000 in monthly rent subsidies from 1995-2000 from the NYCHA for an apartment supposedly rented to Liverpool and her children, he was, in fact, living in the subsidized apartment with her. Neither of them disclosed this arrangement, which is illegal according to public housing guidelines. Additionally, Liverpool claimed eligibility for rent subsidies by reporting only income from welfare and a low paying job at a hair salon that Pierre owned and operated in Far Rockaway.

This week DOI Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn said, "(We) found that renters had developed intricate schemes to gain scarce and valuable public housing."

Rents for public housing are determined by income and, in most of these cases, the DOI said the deceased relatives’ incomes were lower than those of the renters who wanted to keep the apartments.

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