Tuesday, July 13, 2010

California Woman Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $3.9 Million In Federal Low-Income Housing Funds

Belinda S. Exon, 55, currently of Phoenix, Arizona, pleaded guilty to embezzling some $3.9 million in federal funds meant for low-income housing for some 23 Southern California cities for which her Huntington Beach, California-based company, Rehab Financial Services, Inc., provided escrow services. According to prosecutors, Exon, the president of the now-defunct Rehab Financial, kept federal funds meant to be distributed to the various cities. San Francisco sued the company in civil court claiming some $1 million was missing. Prosecutors reached a plea agreement whereby Exon would plead guilty to one felony fraud count and she would face up to 47 months in prison. She must also cooperate with authorities and make restitution. According to the plea agreement, the California cities that lost money are: San Francisco, $1 million; Pomona, $751,000; Seal Beach, $481,432; Huntington Park, $478,000; Westminster, $223,392; Buena Park, $162,563; Rosemead, $128,328; Montebello, $125,000; Apple Valley, $95,452; Camarillo, $91,975; Fullerton, $66,453; Perris, $66,000; Bellflower, $59,140; Calamesa, $42,257; Santa Cruz, $34,784; Encinitas, $29,524; Santa Monica, $26,029; Hollister, $22,195; West Covina, $10,000; Rialto, $8,791; South Gate, $7,603; Hemet, $3,000; and San Juan Capistrano, $2,055. Authorities believe that Exon's scheme lasted for six years, from September 2002 to October 2008 whereby she siphoned the federal funds to help finance several of her new companies, including Nevada based CFH Properties Inc., as well as Arizona-based Desert Foothills Landscaping Inc. and Arizona Pool and Spa Inc. Read the story here, here and here. Read the DOJ announcement here. Update (4/18/11): Exon was sentenced today to 37 months in prison. She was also ordered to pay $4 million in restitution.

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