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CHA mail clerk charged in theft of rent money

Posted by Admin On August - 12 - 2011

 A former Chicago Housing Authority mailroom employee has been charged with stealing rent money sent in by tenants, according to the Office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Ruben Velez, 32, Bellwood, had been employed by an outside messenger company working in the CHA’s mailroom when the thefts occurred. He was arrested yesterday and appeared in bond court this afternoon at 26th and California.

According to prosecutors, Velez worked in the mailroom from December, 2010 until February, 2011. The investigation began when the Chicago Housing Authority received a string of complaints from tenants that money orders they had sent for rent and housing loans had not been received.

Investigators found that the payee on the money orders had been changed to ‘Ruben Velez’, the same name as the defendant who worked in the mailroom. Signatures on the money orders were matched to Velez’s that were on file. A review of the defendant’s bank records further showed that he deposited the tenant’s money orders into his personal account.

In total Velez is accused of stealing $1,719.45 from the CHA.

Velez was arrested yesterday and charged with Continuing a Financial Crimes Enterprise and Theft of Government Funds. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted. A Cook County Judge today set the defendant’s bail at $2,000 cash and continued the case until September 1 for a preliminary hearing.

The public is reminded that charging documents contain allegations that are not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial at which the state has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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