NS housing authority cracks down on HUD income fraud

Just call them a trio of desktop gumshoes.

Basically the town collection agency, the Village of North Syracuse Housing Authority is responsible for shaking the money out of late payers and no payers, essentially ponying up underreported income from lower socio-economic recipients of Housing and Urban Development aid.

And as of late, they're looking real sharp.

"In the last year we've received over $40,000 in repayments in cases of underreported income, whether it be inadvertent or on purpose," housing authority director Phil Aylward said. "That's what we're all about, getting the taxpayers' money back where it belongs."

In short, he said people underreporting their income to Uncle Sam may want to stay out of North Syracuse.

The Village of North Syracuse Housing Authority isn't an official police force, or even part of the village government. They operate as an enforcer branch under the HUD office in Onondaga County.

"We're kind of an independent creature, separate of the village, but at the same time work with them to help do what we do," Aylward said.

Doing what Aylward and his two secretary/detectives do is prevent and recover underreported income for the county's HUD office, or more simply, "people who inadvertently or intentionally don't tell us the truth about their financial situations," said Aylward.

And that's just what they're doing. In terms of stopping fraud, Aylward's team has had a repayment total, to date, at around $50,000, with at least a $100 thousand more in possible repayments.

"We're real close to snagging some big ones, in the hundreds of thousands," Aylward said.

Aylward and his "team" use a wide array of verification tools, ranging from computer software to down-and-dirty investigative work to get HUD it's money. Aylward even enlists the help of the post office and village police department to track underreported income.

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