Friday, March 20, 2009
Former Texas Housing Official Charged In $130K Embezzlement Case
Laura D. Morales, 44, and the former head of the Housing Authority of Bexar County (HABC), Texas, was charged yesterday with embezzling more than $131,000 from the agency. Morales was accused of stealing money from two HABC accounts intended for low-income housing under federal Section 8, funded by HUD, by writing checks to herself and fraudulently stamping the board chairman's signature on them. Morales also reportedly paid herself for leave time she did not earn. She was fired last summer after the allegations came to light. Morales' schemes reportedly date back to 2003 when she took over the position from her predecessor, Christine Torres, who resigned after misappropriate allegations came to light. She faces up to 10 years in prison, plus a fine of up to $250,000 and restitution if convicted.