Man convicted of stealing nearly $1.4M from city housing authority

Baltimore Sun
By Carrie Wells

Daren Kareem Gadsden faces up to 30 years in prison, $1M fine

11:00 PM EDT, July 22, 2013

An Upper Marlboro man was convicted Monday of orchestrating a scheme to steal nearly $1.4 million from the Baltimore Housing Authority, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

Daren Kareem Gadsden, aka "D," was a designated landlord in the city's Section 8 rental program for low-income individuals, now the Housing Choice Voucher Program, and rented to a person in that program in 2009. Authorities said that was how he was able to get access to the housing authority's bank account information.

Cheron Porter, a housing authority spokeswoman, told the Baltimore Sun last year that Gadsden had bank transfer privileges through his bank that let him withdraw rent directly from a housing authority account. She said it was similar to the way some people allow a utility company to deduct monthly charges from their checking accounts.

Gadsden, 36, withdrew too much in 2010 and paid back about $1,400 when the housing authority confronted him about it, the Justice Department said. Later, apparently still with access to the account, Gadsden and other defendants "drained" the housing authority's money by putting it onto debit cards, taking it out of ATMs, and other methods.

Gadsden faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine for the bank fraud conspiracy and is scheduled to be sentenced in October.

Tyeast Brown, aka "Peaches," 42, of Suitland; William Alvin Darden, 46, of Washington; and Keith Eugene Daughtry, 52, of Washington have pleaded guilty to their roles in the scheme.

The housing authority said last year that it was fully reimbursed by Bank of America after discovering the scheme. It said agency accountants identified the fraud during "routine reconciliation" of its books and that officials notified both the agency's inspector general and the bank.