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Housing Chief Admits HUD Fund Theft

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

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The former director of a Dallas-area public housing corporation is facing five years in prison for stealing more than $125,000 in federal funds to pay for hotels, illegal drugs, and other personal expenses.

Jennifer Tyson, 37, the former executive director/manager of the Rockwall (TX) Housing Development Corporation (RHDC), pleaded guilty Dec. 10 conspiring to steal federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña.

The RDHC is a landlord to several authorized public housing agencies in Rockwall. These agencies and, in turn, the RHDC receive federal funds from HUD through the “Housing Choice Voucher Program.” The corporation received $236,611 in Section 8 rental payments from HUD from 2010 to 2012.

Photos: RHDC

Rockwall Housing Development Corp. received $236,611 in Section 8 rental payments from HUD from 2010 to 2012. The former executive director spent more than $126,000 of that for personal use, the FBI said.

RHDC also provides home rehab and reconstruction services to low-income residents.

$126K for Odd Jobs

The Rockwall HDC owns and operates the Meadows, a 36-unit apartment complex for low-income families and Section 8 recipients in Rockwall.

Tyson took over management of the nonprofit from her father, Roger Nielsen, after his death. Tyson's mother, Marge Nielsen, is a former Rockwall City Council member and longtime executive director of a service group called Rockwall County Helping Hands.

As director from June 2009 to November 2013, Tyson was responsible for reviewing and processing monthly housing assistance payments and for the day-to-day running of the complex.

Authorities said her scheme involved two co-conspirators, an engaged couple identified only as Co-Conspirator A and Co-Conspirator B. Co-Conspirator A, a woman, was a tenant at the Meadows.

277 Checks

From March 2010 until June 2011, Tyson wrote about 128 RHDC checks totaling $126,063, made out to Co-Conspirator B, according to the factual resume filed in the case. The FBI said Co-Conspirator B "did perform some work for the Meadows, such as watering plants and picking up trash," but did not earn the amount he was given.


RHDC, of Rockwall, TX, says it has participated in the construction of six new homes and more than 100 home rehabilitations.

Authorities say Co-Conspirator B cashed the checks, then shared the proceeds with his fiancée and with Tyson, who "used the cash to purchase illegal narcotics for their own personal use," the FBI said.

In addition, authorities said, from February 2011 until January 2012, Tyson wrote about 94 RHDC checks made out to “cash” and used the proceeds for her own personal use.

She also wrote about 55 RHDC checks from October 2009 until October 2012 made out to “reimbursement” and used the proceeds for her own personal use.

Drugs and Hotel Rooms

In January 2011, authorities said, Co-Conspirator A was evicted from the Meadows and began living with Co-Conspirator B in hotels in Rockwall.

"Tyson would occasionally visit them, and the three would often use illegal narcotics in these hotel rooms," the FBI said. "Tyson paid for these hotel stays using RHDC funds."

Tyson pleaded guilty to an information charging one count of conspiracy to commit theft concerning programs receiving federal funds. She faces up to five years in federal prison; a $250,000 fine, or twice her gain or the victim's loss; and restitution.

Sentencing is set for March 19, 2014, before U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade.



Tagged categories: Enforcement; Good Technical Practice; Government contracts; Housing; HUD; Residential

Comment from john lienert, (12/17/2013, 11:09 AM)

helping hands for crack-heads in dallas..good job.....your father would be proud !

Comment from John Fauth, (12/17/2013, 12:15 PM)

I wonder if she underwent the same stringent background check required of the new healthcare "facilitators". On second thought, she may be recruited on the basis of this report.

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