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Former housing authority employee indicted

Aug. 31, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- A former Huntington Housing Authority employee was indicted earlier this week on charges alleging she embezzled more than $20,000 from the agency in one year.

Patricia Howard, 54, was charged with embezzlement from an organization receiving federal benefits during a federal grand jury hearing on Aug. 27, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said in a press release Friday.

Howard is a former administrator for HHA's Shelter Plus Care Program, which provided a variety of housing services to disabled and homeless people. The program was funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Her duties included setting up and administering accounts for disabled and homeless people as well as landlords who participated in the program, Goodwin said.

The indictment alleges that, prior to August 2011, Howard created a fictitious Shelter landlord account using the name "Lawrence Green." Goodwin said the indictment also alleges she used a variation of her personal Social Security number and a false address to link the fake landlord's account to her personal checking account to withdraw money for personal use.

Howard was able to embezzle a total of more than $23,000 between August 2011 and August 2012 using the false identity, according to the indictment.

If convicted, Howard faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

In January, Howard pleaded guilty to attempt to commit a felony in Cabell County Circuit Court.

She agreed to enter the plea without a jury indictment, and she was ordered to serve a 1-to-3-year prison sentence when she agreed to self-report to prison in February.

She remained incarcerated in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail on Friday night.

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