HUD fines former Alexander County Housing Authority Director $50 - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

HUD fines former Alexander County Housing Authority Director $500,000

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WSIL -- Court documents show the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) handed down a $500,000 fine against former Alexander County Housing Authority (ACHA) Executive James Wilson.

The fine comes after Wilson admitted to making more than 100 false statements on official reports and misusing federal funds during his time as director. 

A complaint filed last year accused Wilson, along with Martha Franklin, another former executive director of the ACHA, of misusing nearly $100,000 in federal funds on personal expenses. 

Franklin reached a settlement with HUD in August. As part of that deal, she agreed to a $30,000 fine and an indefinite debarment from working with agencies that receive federal funding. 

Congressman Mike Bost says the fines are a good start, but won't replace the homes hundreds of people were forced out of due to dangerous conditions and disrepair.

"This is a case where we have to pursue to the fullest extent of the law they can, those that are the bad actors, and that if, we ever see this starting in the slightest way again, we'll be able to get a straddle of it, not only at Cairo, but wherever in the nation it occurs," Bost said.

Wilson racked up thousands in fraudulent charges, including a trip to San Francisco, where he used a housing authority credit card to book the trip and buy meals, but also filed vouchers for lodging, mileage and a per diem. The filing also shows Wilson used housing authority funds for personal expenses like alcohol.

Senator Tammy Duckworth says she hopes to see criminal charges filed in the future, "We pushed really hard to get some kind sort of restitution claim to be filed and now I am really pushing hard for there to be some kind of a criminal restitution as well."

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