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A Rochester Housing Authority employee facing federal fraud charges

Nov 4, 2019

Credit James Brown / WXXI

A Rochester Housing Authority employee is facing federal charges accusing her of fraud.

The U.S. Attorney’s office says that 58 year old Janis White of Rochester is accused of defrauding and conspiring to defraud Rochester Housing Charities, which is affiliated with the housing authority. White is also charged with obstructing the government's investigation.

Federal prosecutors say that White is the Executive Secretary for the Director of the housing authority and the previous Board Secretary for Rochester Housing Charities.

Officials say that White used a property development company owned by her mother and stepfather to prepare a fraudulent invoice, which made it appear that the business, HJJ Property,  provided services to Rochester Housing Charities. But the U.S. Attorney says that HJJ did not actually provide any services, while still billing the non-profit for that work.

U.S. Attorney for the Western District, James Kennedy Jr., says that Janice White is the third defendant to be charged with scheming to defraud the Rochester Housing Authority and related organizations. Kennedy noted that the federally funded housing agency was set up to provide a stable housing environment for people who need assistance. And he says that when people entrusted “to operate and run such an agency divert funds away from the laudable purposes for which such monies were earmarked and into their own pockets, the entire community is forced to pay a heavy price.”

Charges remain pending against George Moses, former Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the Rochester Housing Authority.

Former Rochester City Councilmember Adam McFadden pleaded guilty to wire fraud and filing a false tax return for his role in scheming to defraud the Rochester Housing Authority and is awaiting sentencing.

The Rochester Housing Authority issued this statement on Monday evening:

The Rochester Housing Authority (RHA) is deeply disturbed and disheartened to learn of the federal complaint charging Janice White with defrauding and conspiring to defraud Rochester Housing Charities (RHC) and obstructing a government investigation. Ms. White served on the Board of the Rochester Housing Charities, in a position of trust. RHA has immediately placed her on an administrative leave of absence while this matter is pending.  RHA supports the ongoing investigation into the charges and the cooperation provided by its affiliate entity, RHC.