Landlord to Pay $90,000 under the False Claims Act for Violating HUD Rules by Renting Subsidized Section 8 Apartment to Relative | USAO-EDPA

PHILADELPHIA – Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that  Mikhail Geneles (“Geneles”), will pay $90,000 to resolve False Claims Act allegations that he illegally claimed subsidies from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) while renting an apartment to his father-in-law in violation of the department’s requirements.   

The settlement resolves allegations that, between May 2010 and May 2020, Geneles rented a subsidized apartment to his relative in violation of the Housing Choice Voucher Program’s (“HCVP”) requirements. The HCVP is commonly known as Section 8 housing. In the agreement, the United States alleges that Geneles participated as a landlord in the HCVP, a program whereby HUD provides rental subsidies for eligible low-income tenants who locate acceptable rental units on the private market. The government alleges that Geneles submitted documents to the Bucks County Housing Authority (which administers the HCVP in Bucks County) falsely certifying that the assisted tenant in Geneles’ rental property was not an immediate relative of the property’s owners. In fact, the sole tenant was Geneles’ father-in-law, which precluded Geneles’ receipt of HCVP rental subsidies.

“HUD instituted the HCVP program to help low-income residents without other options to obtain decent housing,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “By investigating this case, we put all landlords participating in the Section 8 program on notice that they cannot put relatives in apartments for which they are receiving HCVP funds.”  Williams added, “From the time that this matter was brought to his attention, Mr. Geneles committed himself to setting things right. We appreciate his cooperative approach and efforts toward rectifying the problem.” 

“The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General is committed to working with the Department of Justice and community stakeholders to ensure that Federal funds intended to help low-income families are not wasted or misapplied,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Shawn Rice.  “Today’s settlement underscores the government’s commitment to protecting the integrity of HUD programs against fraud, waste, or abuse.”

This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, and by the Bucks County Housing Authority.  For the United States Attorney’s Office, Assistant United States Attorney Colin Cherico handled the investigation and settlement.

The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only; there has been no determination of liability.

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