Housing Benefits Administrator Will Pay $109,000 In Fraud Case, Massachusetts Inspector General Says

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2023/06/22/housing-benefits-administrator-will-pay-109000-in-fraud-case-massachusetts-inspector-general-says/

By Michael P. Norton
State House News Service

New Massachusetts Inspector General Jeffrey Shapiro has been exploring public benefits fraud and on Wednesday announced that a Haverhill woman will pay more than $109,000 to resolve allegations that she filed false claims to obtain nearly $55,000 in rental assistance funds for her personal benefit.

Shapiro’s office said that Jennifer Munoz, 32, agreed to make the payments over three years. The former residential housing counselor filed what Shapiro’s office described as false Emergency Rental Assistance Program claims from April 2020 to January 2022 for individuals who were not tenants in her two-family home.

At the time, she was employed at Community Teamwork Inc., a regional agency that administers the rental assistance program, and the inspector general said she “used her position at CTI to facilitate the approval of her fraudulent applications. CTI terminated her employment after learning of these actions.”

Shapiro’s office said her case was referred to the state attorney general, and a final judgement filed in Suffolk Superior Court features the payment agreement and an agreement by Munoz that she will never apply for state housing assistance again.

“There is a harmful ripple effect when resources are diverted from their intended purpose,” Shapiro said. “This office will continue to vigorously pursue allegations of such fraud and to seek accountability for those who put their own interests ahead of those who need and rely on this support.”

Shapiro in October started a five-year term as inspector general after he was appointed by three statewide officials who no longer hold their offices:  former Governor Charlie Baker, former Attorney General — and now governor — Maura Healey, and former Auditor Suzanne Bump. He oversees a $9.5 million agency with 90 employees and has created the position of director of veterans’ services, a health care division, and other new roles to expand the agency’s capabilities.


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