N.Y. man charged with stealing federal housing funds
NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - Louis Abate was arrested Friday by federal law enforcement agents and is accused of stealing federal housing benefits intended for low-income Long Islanders in need of financial assistance.
Abate, 49 and of Massapequa, N.Y., was - from 2004 to 2012 - the Fiscal Director for the Nassau County Office of Housing and Community Development.
Low income families are eligible to receive rent subsidies under a federal program funded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Nassau County Office of Housing and Community Development is responsible for implementing and monitoring the Nassau County programs and grants.
According to the complaint, Abate stole more than $120,000 between May 2009 and August 2011 in federal Section 8 rental subsidies from a Section 8 program he oversaw that serviced individuals residing in Island Park, N.Y.
He allegedly created a fictitious landlord with no associated tenant, and for more than two years diverted federal Section 8 benefits for this supposed landlord to his personal bank account.
He was successful in illegally paying himself approximately $5,000 per month - more than three times the monthly amount of federal Section 8 subsidies received by any single participating landlord in the Island Park area, it is alleged.
"In these difficult economic times, the defendant abdicated his responsibilities and pocketed funds earmarked for low-income Long Islanders in need of financial assistance for the one of the most basic necessities - affordable housing," United States Attorney Loretta Lynch said. "He will now be held to account for his actions."
If convicted, he could receive amaximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a $250,000 fine.