Federal agents claim $70,000 went missing from the Framingham, Massachusetts, Housing Authority, and a woman was caught living off of the money.
According to WFXT, Rosa Famania, an accounting assistant with the Framingham Housing Authority, used the money for vacations, a new car, and breast implants.
Famania, 33, is accused of stealing 181 cash rental payments from tenants who are on fixed incomes. Nearly 100 of those are said to come from just 12 tenants, some of whom handed cash directly to Famania.
According to Metro West Daily News, the investigation began on Aug. 6, 2015, as a result of a mistake by one of Famania’s co-workers. Famania was out sick on Aug. 5, 2015, when several people paid their rent in cash. The money, with receipts, was put in a cash lock box -- for which Famania was responsible -- kept on Famania’s desk. The following day, Famania left work early. A co-worker, meaning to open a petty cash box, instead mistakenly opened the rent cash box and discovered two of the rent payments -- $300 and $560 -- were missing.
“A subsequent search by the FHA accounting department employee revealed that the $560 and $300 duplicate copies of the receipts that were wrapped around the tenant’s cash payment when they were placed in the lock cash rental box the previous day were torn up and thrown away in Famania’s trash barrel,” according to the affidavit.
Investigators said Famania did not deposit the cash; instead, she simply adjusted the tenant’s rent amount on the computer and pocketed the rest of the money.
Federal investigators said about $55,000 went into a joint account with her live-in boyfriend. Authorities also told WFXT that money orders totaling $18,000 went into another of Famania’s accounts.
Many tenants living in the housing complex said they are struggling, and to find out that someone allegedly stole thousands from the system had them furious.
“Why? She's got a good paying job. Why do that? The people she's taking it from, they couldn't afford it,” tenant Pat Dubowlik said. “I don't like being taken advantage of by anyone.”
At her initial appearance in federal court, Famania was released on $50,000 unsecured bail, which means she has to pay only if she does not appear at a later court date. The next court date has not been set.