Charlesetta Jackson, 46, Kansas City, Kan., has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, wire fraud and mail fraud, U.S. Attorney Lanny Welch said Tuesday. A second defendant, Danielle Collins, 38, Denver, Colo., has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and one count of bribery.
In her plea, Jackson admitted she accepted bribes in 2007 while she worked for the Kansas City, Kan., Housing Authority. The housing authority helps qualified persons obtain housing assistance funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The agency provides housing vouchers that recipients may take to approved landlords to obtain housing at a greatly reduced rate. In addition to other qualifications, recipients must live in Kansas City at the time they apply. A person who receives a voucher and moves to another city may “port” the voucher, making the person eligible to receive housing at the new location without having to reapply and be placed on a waiting list.
In 2007, Jackson accepted $500 from Collins for a housing voucher. Collins, who was from Chicago, told Jackson she knew many persons in Chicago who would be willing to pay for vouchers. They could use the vouchers to obtain housing in Chicago without having to go through a waiting list.
During the conspiracy, Jackson faxed paperwork from Kansas City to Chicago, including letters of introduction addressed to the local housing authority in Illinois. During that time, a co-conspirator in Chicago mailed documents to Collins, who forwarded them to Jackson for use in processing vouchers.
Sentencing is set for July 19, 2010. Jackson and Collins face a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 on each count.
Welch commended Housing and Urban Development and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Oakley for their work on the case.