HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Just ask anyone walking out of the Houston Housing Authority how great the need is for a decent place to live in a growing city where rental rates are on the rise.
In the Houston region there are seven thousand people on a waiting list to get Section 8 housing vouchers.
So when people seeking housing assistance hear an employee at the Housing Authority's Fountainview office has been busted for selling vouchers to line her own pockets, they're outraged.
Nakita Tiro says, "When you have people that need it and when you're selling it for money to benefit yourself...you don't take from the needy, you know what I mean?"
We've learned the employee, who's name we're not releasing, worked here for at least two years. Sources say she sold the vouchers to people who didn't qualify. We're told the vouchers, which can be used for rent, were sold to individuals for $1200 to $1800 each. Those vouchers were then given to landlords for monthly rental payments.
G. Ashley Johnson with the Housing Authority says, "We became aware of the impropriety regarding vouchers that were being used from the program. And enough information was found that the housing authority sought action against this employee and then the person was terminated."
So how many vouchers did this employee sell to those who did not qualify for the federally funded housing assistance program? Sources with the agency tell FOX 26 the number is upwards of 20+ vouchers that can have a monetary value of $700 to $2800 a month in rental payments. The agency confirms payments had already been made on at least two vouchers to landlords.
Johnson says the agency has put measures in place to insure this doesn't happen again. As for the employee, the next could be federal jail time once the investigation is taken to the next level.
But a check of Harris County records show that worker has been arrested and convicted multiple times. There were three arrests for credit card abuse, one for theft, and she is currently on probation for tampering with a governmental document.
Johnson says when they hire someone they only go seven years back and the most recent case of tampering happened while she worked for the agency.