A federal grand jury indicted an Alton woman Jan. 20 on two counts of theft of government funds and two counts of false statement.
In a press release, Acting U.S. Attorney James L. Porter said Ebony J. Smith, 37, was arraigned on the charges this week. If convicted of theft of government funds, Smith faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release as to each count. If convicted of false statement, Smith faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release as to each count.
The indictment alleges that from approximately November 2001, continuing to November 2011, Smith stole $88,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development by obtaining HUD Housing Choice Voucher Program rent subsidies for a home in which she had an ownership interest when she knew she was not entitled to the subsidies because of her ownership interest in the property. The indictment further alleges that during the same time frame, Smith stole $72,000 from the Social Security Administration by obtaining supplemental Social Security income while also receiving unreported assistance from the HUD Housing Choice Voucher Program. Smith also is alleged to have made false statements to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Social Security Administration when she did not disclose her ownership interest in the real estate for which she was receiving the rent subsidies and she did not disclose to the SSA the rent assistance she was receiving through the HUD Housing Choice Voucher Program.
An indictment is a formal charge against a defendant. Under the law, a defendant is presumed to be innocent of a charge and is entitled to a fair trial at which the United States must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ali Summers.