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Executive Director Used Housing Authority Funds for Personal Expenses Throughout Entire Tenure.

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, Jefferson County District Attorney Kristyna S. Mills, the U.S. Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General (HUD OIG), and the New York State Police today announced the arrests of former Executive Director of the West Carthage Housing Authority (WCHA) Jan Hoffman for allegedly stealing over $48,000 in WCHA funds, and Katherine (Katie) Pais, Hoffman’s mother and former WCHA consultant, for allegedly aiding in and concealing the scheme.

“Jan Hoffman and Katherine Pais allegedly took advantage of their positions and residents in need in a scheme that allowed Hoffman to steal over $48,000 in housing authority funds,” DiNapoli said. “Thanks to the partnership between my office, Jefferson County District Attorney Kristyna S. Mills, the State Police, and the HUD OIG, they will be held accountable for their actions.”

“The arrests today were the culmination of a collaborative investigation by state and federal agencies who worked tirelessly to identify unauthorized purchases and false reimbursements,” said Jefferson County District Attorney Mills. “The Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office thanks those agencies who diligently toiled to bring about today’s arrest.”

“HUD OIG is committed to protecting the integrity of the Public Housing program and bringing to justice those who abuse these programs for personal gain,” said Acting Special Agent-in-Charge William Woolard with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General. “We will continue to work with the Office of the New York State Comptroller and our law enforcement partners to investigate and hold accountable bad actors and protect the programs that HUD beneficiaries rely on.”

New York State Police Acting Superintendent Steven G. James said, “These charges demonstrate that people who are placed in a position of trust and take advantage of the vulnerable will be held accountable for their actions. The individuals charged in this case stole funds from unsuspecting citizens that relied on them for a safe place to live. I thank the Comptroller’s Office, Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, and the U.S. Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General for their partnership in ending these types of fraudulent practices.”

Hoffman served as the executive director of WCHA, a government-funded apartment complex for low-income senior citizens and disabled individuals, from 2016-2021. Pais, who was hired by the WCHA board, was the accounts payable bookkeeper from 2016-2020.

Based upon an anonymous tip, Comptroller DiNapoli’s Office and HUD OIG commenced an investigation of all monies controlled by Hoffman and found that she had allegedly been making personal purchases with housing authority funds since 2016, her entire tenure as executive director. In total, Hoffman allegedly stole over $48,000 from WCHA by using WCHA’s financial accounts and credit lines to make unauthorized personal purchases. Additionally, Hoffman allegedly submitted over $1,000 in false reimbursements.

Through her role as the accounts payable bookkeeper, Pais allegedly helped conceal Hoffman’s theft. Pais was responsible for reviewing claims and preparing checks for payment. Pais allegedly not only knew about Hoffman’s continuous theft and did not report it to the board, but also prepared checks to pay Hoffman for her fraudulent reimbursements and to pay off Hoffman’s personal purchases on the housing authority’s accounts, and prepared payments that hid the thefts.

Hoffman was charged with Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, charged as a crime of public corruption, and Corrupting the Government in the Second Degree and arraigned before Judge Anthony Neddo at the Watertown City Court Centralized Arraignment Part.

Pais was charged with Corrupting the Government in the Fourth Degree and was issued a desk appearance ticket. She is due back in court on March 28th.

The charges filed in this case are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.