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Former Huntington Housing Authority administrator admits to embezzling more than $23K in federal grant money

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A former administrator with Huntington Housing Authority has admitted to embezzling more than $23,000 in federal grant money from a program intended to assist disabled and homeless individuals.

U. S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said Patricia Howard, 58, pleaded guilty recently in federal court in Huntington to embezzlement from an organization receiving federal benefits. She had been indicted in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia in August 2012.

Howard's job with the Housing Authority had been to set up and administer accounts for disabled and homeless persons as well as landlords who participated in its housing program.

The government said Howard opened a landlord account using a fictitious name, address and Social Security number and over the course of a year diverted federal program dollars to the bogus landlord account, which she'd linked to her own checking account.

Howard, who is currently being held on unrelated state fraud charges, faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine at sentencing, which is set for Feb. 24 in front of Chief United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers.  

The HUD Office of Inspector General, the FBI and the Huntington Police Department conducted the investigation.  Assistant United States Attorney Erik S. Goes handled the prosecution.