Housing Director Says Hyde Park Fraud Should Not Change Policy

Commission To Vote On Downtown Safety Plan (Image 1)

Augusta officials say they are doing their best to prevent getting taken advantage of when it comes to relocating people from Hyde Park.

As we reported two have been indicted, after claiming they were renting a home in Hyde Park and were applying for more than 20 thousand dollars in relocation expenses.

Augusta is moving out a little more than one hundred families from Hyde Park in phases to make away for a 20 acre storm water retention pond.

The city Housing and Community Development Department has the sole authority to approve relocations and had signed off on this one, before being alerted that the person was NOT renting the home.

“If somebody is going to defraud let's be honest if somebody is going to defraud something they're going to do what they want to do and it's when you catch them that you take the steps that we took but anybody who wants to defraud something they can always do that,” says Department Director Chester Wheeler.  

Last fall Wheeler convinced commissioners to allow the department to approve the relocations without having them come back to the board for final approval and even in light of the indictment he doesn't feel that policy should change.

“We would never get anything done,” said Wheeler.

Belinda Ann Winfrey, and Leomie Fielding, have been arrested and charged with criminal attempt to commit theft by deception. 

Bond was set at 57 hundred dollars.

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