Groves housing scheme sentencing

Chad Hogan

According to information from the office of Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas Brit Featherston, a former Groves apartment manager was sentenced to 22 months in prison on Jan. 31 for her role in a scheme to defraud HUD of roughly $400,000. The same day, former Orange County Sheriff’s Office detective and spokesperson Chad Hogan was also sentenced to serve one year and one day for his role in the same plot to defraud the federal housing agency.

Nhung Tuyet Nguyen, also known as Sandy Nguyen, 44, of Houston, pleaded guilty on July 26, 2016, to theft of government property and was sentenced to 22 months in federal prison this week by U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone.

According to information presented in court and provided by Featherston’s office, from October 2007 to December 2015, Nguyen was employed by the Beverly Place Apartments in Groves as an assistant Manager. As part of her job responsibilities, Nguyen assisted potential tenants in applying for U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) benefits for rental assistance and utility assistance. In June 2007, Nguyen began applying for HUD rental assistance and utility assistance benefits without the tenants’ knowledge or consent. As a result, HUD provided funds to Beverly Place Apartments to cover tenants’ monthly rental fees. Nguyen required tenants, who were unaware HUD had already paid their monthly rent, to pay full market price for their apartments in cash or money orders. Nguyen would then take the cash or money orders and use them for her personal benefit. Nguyen enrolled at least five tenants in HUD rental and utility assistance programs without their knowledge. As a result, Nguyen caused a total loss to HUD of $393,583 and was ordered to pay that amount in restitution to the agency.

Hogan, 47, of Orange, pleaded guilty on Sep. 6, 2016, to money laundering.

According to information presented in court and provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, from March 2009 to August 2015, Hogan, while employed as a detective with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, deposited approximately 4,302 checks into a bank account at MCT Credit Union titled “Starcomm Wireless,” all of which represented proceeds from unlawful activity. Starcomm Wireless was a business once owned and operated by Hogan, but closed prior to 2009. Hogan, however, kept the Starcomm Wireless bank account open and active after the business ceased operation.

The checks were written on bank accounts held by Beverly Place apartments, Cedarwood apartments, and Villa Main apartments, all in the Port Arthur/Groves area and ranged in amount from $2 to $277, totaling $187,706. Employees of the apartment complexes would meet with Hogan and give him the checks, which he would deposit in his account. Hogan would then give approximately 2/3 of the money back to the employees, keeping the remaining 1/3 for himself. The checks Hogan received from the employees were payable to tenants of the complexes and were written under the Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) utility assistance program.

Hogan, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, was aware that the checks he was depositing represented the proceeds of some form of unlawful activity, and did so to disguise the nature of the funds. Hogan was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $187,706, as this was his portion of the scheme.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development – Office of Inspector General and Homeland Security Investigations and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher T. Tortorice.