Jury Convicts Mesquite Man of Stealing From HUD Grant - 8 News NOW

Jury Convicts Mesquite Man of Stealing From HUD Grant

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LAS VEGAS -- A jury on Thursday convicted a home builder from Mesquite of stealing from a federal housing grant program intended to assist the Navajo Nation, Nevada's U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said.

William Aubrey, 69, was convicted of two counts of conversion of money and funds from a tribal organization. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 7 by U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson. Aubrey faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count.

"The Navajo Nation counted on the monies stolen by the defendant to provide housing for its members," Bogden said. "This defendant stole from the tribe and from the American people, and used the monies to finance an extravagant lifestyle."

According to court records and evidence introduced at trial, the Navajo Nation is a federally recognized sovereign Indian tribe whose borders encompass a large portion of Arizona and extend into New Mexico and Utah. The Navajo Housing Authority was an official Navajo Nation entity authorized to receive and administer federal housing funds awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Navajo Nation receives an average of $90 million annually from HUD.

A Navajo Nation non-profit corporation, the Fort Defiance Housing Corporation, was responsible for the development of safe and affordable housing on tribal lands. Fort Defiance was also a sub-grantee for the HUD grant funds.

Beginning in 1996 and continuing to 2004, Fort Defiance contracted with a private housing development company, Lodgebuilder, to develop housing projects. Lodgebuilder is owned and operated by Aubrey. Lodgebuilder and Aubrey managed several housing development projects for Fort Defiance from 2000 to 2004.

HUD funds, which were supposed to be used to pay vendors, subcontractors and expenses at the housing developments, were converted by Aubrey for his own personal use and used for gambling, and other personal expenses, according to court records and the trial.

The case was investigated by the Office of Inspector General for HUD and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy Vasquez and Kathryn Newman.

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