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Former PHA Manager Indicted on Embezzlement Charges

U.S. Attorney’s Office October 17, 2013
  • Eastern District of Pennsylvania (215) 861-8200

PHILADELPHIA—Sondra Wong Nelson, 36, of Philadelphia was charged by indictment, unsealed October 3, 2013, with one count of theft from a federally funded organization and two counts of falsely altering a postal money order, announced U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger. According to the indictment, between January 2012 and June 2010, during her tenure as a supervisory asset manager at the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA), Nelson embezzled close to $8,000 in rent money from PHA tenants and deposited those funds into her personal bank account.

Many of the PHA tenants living in the scattered sites paid their monthly rent at the management offices in the form of money orders made payable to PHA. The indictment alleges that defendant Nelson, in her role as supervisor asset manager at PHA, took many of these money orders, substituted her name for PHA as the payee on the money orders, and deposited the altered money orders in her personal bank account. It is further alleged that as part of her corrupt scheme, defendant Nelson accessed PHA’s internal computer database and manipulated the database to falsely reflect that the embezzled rent payments had been received by PHA, even though she knew that she had deposited those funds in her personal bank account.

If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of up to $750,000, and a $300 special assessment.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau Investigation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General, and the United States Postal Inspection Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sozi Pedro Tulante.

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