Monday, 20 March 2017

Former GHURA attorney indicted on Section 8 fraud charges

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Mark S. Smith served as GHURA's legal counsel while he was also a landlord for Section 8 housing.

Guam - A local attorney who served as the Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority's legal counsel has been indicted on 56 counts of wire fraud, money laundering and other federal violation charges.

The 24-page indictment charges Attorney Mark S. Smith and flight attendant Glenn Wong with the federal fraud charges stemming from allegations of US Housing and Urban Development violations. Smith served as legal counsel for GHURA between 2011 to 2013 while he was also receiving federal funds as a Section 8 landlord.

While he was under investigation, Smith then allegedly sold his properties to Wong but this is where the indictment alleges the money laundering conspiracy. Instead of keeping the money, federal authorities allege Wong redirected the funds back to Smith; all this while Smith was still serving as GHURA’s legal counsel.

According to the indictment, Wong received about $280,000 in Section 8 funds and used some of that money to pay off Smith’s credit cards, loans and other bills.

After Smith stepped down from GHURA and while the investigation was ongoing, authorities say Wong and Smith attempted to cover up their fraudulent activity and a few years after the properties were transferred to Wong’s name, he then sold the properties for nearly $700,000. Six days after Wong sold the property, authorities say Wong wrote a check to Smith for the exact same amount.

Smith spent the night in jail but was released from federal custody this afternoon. The indictment was handed down on March 14 but remain sealed until March 20.

You can read the indictment by clicking on the file below.

 

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