John H. Durham. United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that STEVEN F. HARVIN, 53, of New Haven, waived his right to be indicted and pleaded guilty today in Hartford federal court to one count of theft from programs receiving federal funds.
According to court documents and statements made in court, the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (“HOPWA”) Program is a federal program dedicated to the housing needs of people living with HIV/AIDS. Under the HOPWA Program, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) makes grants to local communities, states and nonprofit organizations for projects that benefit low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS and their families. HUD is also responsible for administering the Section 8 housing program, which provides federally subsidized housing to low income tenants.
Harvin is a reverend and, from approximately August 2015 to September 2016, he served as President of Zezzo House, a non-profit organization in Hartford that provides housing for individuals and families with health challenges, including HIV/AIDS. HUD provides HOPWA funds to the City of Hartford, which in turn provides the HOPWA funds to organizations in the Hartford area, including Zezzo House. Between January and August 2016, Zezzo House received $70,722 in HOPWA funds. Harvin embezzled some of these funds through cash withdrawals, spent some of the funds on ineligible Zezzo House expenses, and he failed to account for the use of other funds. In total, Harvin misappropriated approximately $25,120.47 in HOPWA funds.
Zezzo House also receives Section 8 funding and, during this time period, Harvin diverted funds from rent checks from Section 8 tenants to his personal use.
Harvin is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Michael P. Shea on March 5, 2019, at which time Harvin faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000. Harvin is released on a $50,000 bond pending sentencing.
This matter is being investigated by the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, and the Hartford Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Neeraj N. Patel.