BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — The former Housing Director for Raleigh County was sentenced to probation and was ordered to pay more than $8,000 in restitution for a federal fraud scheme.
According to the US Department of Justice, the Raleigh County Housing Authority (RCHA) carried out federally funded programs, which included the Section 8 income-based rent program. The funds received from the US Department of Urban Development (HUD) were kept in a primary operating bank account through a West Virginia bank.
The money for these programs was received while Laquenta Lowe, 46, of Beckley, was the Executive Director of the RCHA.
According to statements made in court, Lowe used her status within the housing authority to steal at least $7,978.91 in federal HUD funds. She manipulated the funds to be used for her personal benefit without receiving any authorization to do so, the DOJ says.
Lowe admitted to getting at least $6,728.82 in overtime pay that she was not entitled to. Court records say she also admitted to taking $660.68 in travel-related expenses that were not for housing authority travel. A personal smart watch was also bought by Lowe using the Raleigh County Housing Authority company credit card.
Laquenta Lowe was sentenced to five years of supervised probation. She must also pay $8,954.76 in restitution for converting public money totaling more than $1,000.
Laquenta Lowe abused a position of trust and stole from a program that provides critical services to some of our most vulnerable citizens. Our office is committed to prosecuting fraud of this nature to the fullest extent possible.United States Attorney Will Thompson
When US Attorney Thompson made the sentencing announcement, he also thanked the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development-Office of Inspector General, FBI, and the West Virginia State Auditor’s Office Public Integrity and Fraud Unit for their investigative work throughout the case.