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Irving Cop Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Feds

You know they thought this was a great idea, maybe even genius. The Department of Housing and Urban Development up in Washington, D.C. implemented a program where law enforcement officers could get a house at HALF-PRICE as long as they bought a home in a pre-selected neighborhood, known to be less than stellar.

That’s right: cops could buy a house for 50 cents on the dollar, as long as they bought in certain sections of town, and lived in the home for 36+ straight months.  It’s called the Good Neighbor Next Door/Officer Next Door program.

It didn’t turn out so well for Irving police officer Ramon Anthony Reyes, Jr.

Over in Irving, a cop named Ramon Reyes, Jr. learned of the HUD program and got ideas.  On the force since 1998, Reyes knew the local area and its crime statistics well enough. He also knew his real estate.

In 1998, Officer Reyes bought a home in Grand Prairie.  In 2007, he bought another home, using the HUD funds, on Palo Alto Drive in Mesquite.   Officer Reyes transfered the title of the Grand Prairie house to his uncle … but he never moved from there, never changed over the utilities, and still paid the property taxes on the Grand Prairie residence.  Du-oh!!!!

Officer Reyes was caught by the federales and charged with filing a false statement with HUD (you know, where he swore he was living in the HUD house).  He pled guilty.  Now, he’s not a cop (he resigned on January 5th) and he’s facing two years in the federal pen plus a fine of $250,000. He’s scheduled to be sentenced in April.

Is Reyes the only one who’s seeing the HUD Program as an Investment Vehicle?

As for the HUD Program, it’s open not only to cops, but also to pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade teachers and firefighters/emergency medical technicians so they can “contribute to community revitalization” by buying homes in these “declining” communities and live there for three years.

Now, three years (36 months) isn’t a short trip – but is anyone else thinking that Reyes’ idea of using the program as a way to get real estate cheap wasn’t that unique?  He may have not followed the requirements, but it would be interesting to see how many of these homeowners aren’t just landlords for houses they got cheap as soon as their 36 month stint is up.

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