Inspectors find fraud in rental assistance program

Published on January 19, 2024 at 11:55 am

During a review of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, Jacksonville’s Office of Inspector General reported that it uncovered five previously unreported cases of fraud involving more than $314,000. The office has referred those cases to state and federal prosecutors for criminal prosecution.

The program’s funds could be used for payment of rent or utilities or other housing expenses that were incurred directly or indirectly because of the COVID-19 outbreak. A report detailing the inspector general’s review says Jacksonville appropriated $72,399,077.67 of funds from the U.S. Department of Treasury from March 2021 through March 2023.

Jacksonville Today thanks our sponsors. Become one.

The most notable fraud case, according to the report, involved a single landlord associated with 49 tenant applications. Of those, 13 were approved, resulting in that landlord receiving $217,389.25. The funds were disbursed by three different subcontractors hired by the city. One of the contractors had paid on three applications before identifying potential fraud and halting additional payments.

Read the rest of this story at News4Jax, a Jacksonville Today news partner.

author image Anne Maxwell is an award-winning investigative reporter who joined News4Jax in August 2021. Anne previously worked at WSPA in Greenville, South Carolina, as a reporter and fill-in anchor.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.