Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa ex-housing aide gets 4 years in embezzlement

TAMPA — A former counselor with the Tampa Housing Authority was sentenced Friday to more than four years in prison for his role in a scheme that embezzled federal grant money meant for the poor.

Calvin Coleman received 50 months, which is the sentence federal prosecutors were seeking from U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich.

"You did a lot of harm," Kovachevich told Coleman, 44. "The government is making an example of you because of the seriousness of the crime."

Coleman pleaded guilty in April to one count of conspiracy, nine counts of embezzlement and two counts of using public money for personal gain.

From August 2003 until 2005, prosecutors said, Coleman and two other Housing Authority officials embezzled grant money from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. Carlton Miles, a former University of Florida football player, got two years in prison in June. Mario Lovett was sentenced to 18 months in April.

That left Coleman, who prosecutors said abused his position as a Section 8 counselor to steal and defraud $488,912. Prosecutors say he initiated the scam, which included entering bogus landlord names in the Housing Authority database, then splitting the receipts with friends he recruited to pose as landlords.

Coleman's attorney, Mark Rankin, sought 46 months in prison for his client, telling Kovachevich that Coleman had a drug addiction that clouded his judgment. He embezzled to feed his habit, Rankin said.

"He wasn't running around town in fancy cars," Rankin said. "He never lived the extravagant lifestyle. He only had a drug problem."

But assistant U.S. attorney Cherie Krigsman persuaded Kovachevich that Coleman deserved the four extra months. The fraud took place over two years and Coleman expanded the number of participants, she said.

"He stole from the people in the community who needed help the most," Krigsman said.

Asked by the judge if he had any final words, Coleman had one.

"Sorry."

Tampa ex-housing aide gets 4 years in embezzlement 08/29/08 [Last modified: Thursday, September 4, 2008 5:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas sees spike in infant deaths from unsafe sleeping, and advocates are concerned

    Health

    The reports from the Department of Children and Families are tragic: A Pinellas County mother falls asleep on a recliner during an early morning feeding and wakes to find one of her 3-month-old twins unresponsive. Another finds her 6-month-old daughter lying still, a blanket over her head. Another infant is found wedged …

    Advocates are looking to step up their public information efforts this year after reports show a spike in sleep-related infant deaths in Pinellas County. [iStockphoto.com]
  2. Kellyanne Conway warns of health care spin, but then delivers her own in Miami

    Blogs

    On the same day that Senate Republicans were forced to delay a vote on their healthcare legislation because not enough of them wanted to vote for it, White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway defended the bill in Miami.

    White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway is welcomed by state Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-District 105, at the Miami-Dade GOP’s Lincoln Day fundraiser on Tuesday night.
  3. Sign up for our new daily News at Noon email newsletter

    News

    The Tampa Bay Times will soon launch a daily newsletter called News at Noon. You can make sure to be among the first to receive it by signing up now.

  4. New poll shows tight St. Pete mayor's race

    Blogs

    A new poll shows a tight race between former mayor Rick Baker and Mayor Rick Kriseman, currently engaged in the most expensive mayoral race in St. Petersburg history. 

    Former Mayor Rick Baker answers a question during the mayoral candidate forum at Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church on Tuesday. Mayor Rick Kriseman is in the foreground.
  5. Review: Mark Bowden's 'Hue 1968' a gripping, and timely, history

    Books

    More than 40 years after it ended, America's war in Vietnam is still contentious, still misunderstood, and fast slipping into the fog of history.

     On Feb. 15, 1968, U.S. Marines carry out an assault on Dong Ba Tower in Hue, South Vietnam. In the battle for the tower, six men died and 50 were wounded.