DA: Ex-Hempstead housing manager stole benefits

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A former Village of Hempstead housing manager stole more than $10,000 in housing assistance benefits by falsifying personal financial documents, Nassau County prosecutors said Thursday.

Tiffany Martin, 28, of Hempstead, was arrested Thursday morning on charges of third-degree grand larceny, third-degree welfare fraud, six counts of first-degree tampering with public records, six counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, defrauding the government and misdemeanor official misconduct, according to the Nassau County district attorney's office.

Martin, who until June worked for the Hempstead Housing Authority as a manager for the local Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, faces up to 7 years in prison if convicted, prosecutors said.

Martin is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday at First District Court in Hempstead.

The housing voucher program provides government funding to low-income tenants, including the disabled and the elderly, to subsidize a portion of rent paid to their landlords, the district attorney's office said in a news release.

Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a statement that Martin "abused a system designed to provide safe and clean housing for those truly in need."

Martin's duties included managing a waiting list for people scheduled to get Section 8 benefits, which can stretch into years, the release said.

She also was responsible for assessing applications and required paperwork so the correct amount of funding would go to each beneficiary of the program. The position paid her $51,360 annually when she was terminated in June for "administrative purposes," prosecutors said.

Martin also was a recipient of Section 8 assistance, prosecutors said. Over the course of three years, Martin made several falsifications to her file, including adding forged documents containing nonexistent child-care expenses, prosecutors said. These "expenses" allowed Martin to fraudulently alter her income and inflate the government housing subsidy she received, the release said.

The false information allowed Martin to steal approximately $10,326 from the housing authority, prosecutors said.

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