HomeSafe Georgia Program Recipient Convicted of Public Assistance Fraud
On Thursday, January 10, 2019, HomeSafe Georgia program applicant, Charles Mitchell pled guilty to violations of O.C.G.A. § 49-4-15 – Fraud in Obtaining Public Assistance. Mitchell was sentenced to 24 months of probation and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $12,435.82.
After his initial application in February 2016, Mitchell qualified for assistance and was approved in June 2016. To maintain his eligibility in the program, Mitchell submitted a homeowner's association invoice to increase his monthly home expenditures and thereby maintained his eligibility for 2017. A review of the invoice documentation by OIG resulted in the determination that the invoices were falsified to maintain Mitchell's eligibility for the program. As a result, Mitchell received $12,435.82 in mortgage assistance he was not entitled to receive.
The case was initially referred to the OIG by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. The case was investigated jointly by OIG Investigator Richard Schneider with Bill Tindall from the United States Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP). Assistant Attorney General Sandra Bailey prosecuted the case.