Tuesday, September 25, 2018
News Roundup

Tampa woman drew public assistance after collecting $396,000 settlement, feds say

TAMPA — For 13 years, a mother getting public assistance swore under penalty of perjury that she had no income or assets. The public paid her rent, provided food money and covered her son under Medicaid — at a total cost of $85,363, according to court records.

Latashia Green failed to mention the $396,000 paid to her from a 2010 legal settlement, or the $10,000 a year she earned braiding hair, or the real estate she bought along the way, federal authorities allege.

Green, 37, is expected to plead guilty in U.S. District Court on Tuesday to theft of public assistance benefits, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. She has no prior criminal record in Florida.

She collected $34,800 in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development subsidies, $22,902 in U.S. Department of Agriculture food subsidies and $27,661 in Medicaid benefits, Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Riedel wrote recently.

"Ms. Green never reported this income to any of the agencies listed above and continued to falsely state on applications and recertifications that she had no income," Riedel wrote.

Green, who declined an interview request, acquired money the unfortunate way.

Her mother, Marcella Staten, was killed in 2009 trying to cross Busch Boulevard on foot, Tampa police records show. The driver stopped. He wasn't charged.

The next year in Hillsborough County Circuit Court, an attorney opened a probate case to distribute a private settlement payable to Staten's estate. Green was the personal representative. She and two other family members were named as beneficiaries.

Green's name also turned up on deeds for residential properties in Hillsborough and Pasco counties.

Instead of reporting a changed financial situation to public assistance agencies, Green sublet her subsidized housing unit to someone else for $550 a month, the prosecutor wrote.

The unit was costing HUD $909 per month in rent and a $100 utility stipend.

Green was benefitting from a housing voucher program commonly known as Section 8. The demand for the vouchers is so great that applicants are no longer accepted on a waiting list. The program is administered by the Tampa Housing Authority, which referred Green to HUD's Office of Inspector General for prosecution in 2013.

Tampa Housing Authority spokeswoman Lillian Stringer credited the thorough efforts of Assisted Housing Director Margaret Jones.

"We take fraud prevention very seriously and we will vigorously pursue every individual case to the fullest extent," Stringer said. "We're hopeful by reporting these incidents, that will deter any other participants from engaging in fraudulent activity."

News researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Contact Patty Ryan at [email protected] or (813) 226-3382.

Comments

Post-Florence tropical disturbance could further soak the Carolinas

It's been an busy hurricane season in the Atlantic and this week the National Hurricane Center is monitoring three tropical disturbances that have chances of strengthening -- including one that could affect the Carolinas as it continues to cope with ...
Updated: 2 minutes ago
A doctor was sued for malpractice. He tried to fight it. It cost him nearly everything.

A doctor was sued for malpractice. He tried to fight it. It cost him nearly everything.

Scott Plantz remembers the exact date he received notice he was being sued for medical malpractice.His wife, Cynna, gave birth to their only child that day in 2009. They had spent five years and more than $100,000 on in vitro fertilizations to have H...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
Nature Coast volleyball enjoying quite the resurgence

Nature Coast volleyball enjoying quite the resurgence

BROOKSVILLE — Nature Coast is really having fun at volleyball this season. A 15-1 start can have that effect.The Sharks, coming off a season where they returned to the playoffs following a six-year drought, have already surpassed that victory t...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
A post-Florence tropical disturbance could further soak the Carolinas

A post-Florence tropical disturbance could further soak the Carolinas

It's been an busy hurricane season in the Atlantic and this week the National Hurricane Center is monitoring three tropical disturbances that have chances of strengthening -- including one that could affect the Carolinas as it continues to cope with ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Did Ryan Fitzpatrick do enough to keep his job?

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Did Ryan Fitzpatrick do enough to keep his job?

Rick Stroud and Times sports columnist Tom Jones break down the Bucs' 30-27 loss to the Steelers on Monday Night Football.Ryan Fitzpatrick  had a difficult first half, throwing three interceptions, but  led a second-half comeback that ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
You thought you knew these candidates? In House District 38, it's Tent Killer challenging Little Danny

You thought you knew these candidates? In House District 38, it's Tent Killer challenging Little Danny

Most everybody knew John David Hayes simply as “David’’ until 1982. The then-21-year-old skydiving enthusiast, however, made a bad landing on his 11th jump in Alberta, Canada, and soon everyone started calling him something else. "...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The magic has worn off. Time for the Bucs to start Jameis Winston

The magic has worn off. Time for the Bucs to start Jameis Winston

TAMPA — So this will be a fun and interesting week over at One Buc Place.Who's the quarterback?That question will be asked a few times. The likely answer will end up being Ryan Fitzpatrick.But this question will be asked a few dozen times:...
Updated: 1 hour ago
He helped save a disabled man trapped in a burning house. Now, he is a letter-carrier hero

He helped save a disabled man trapped in a burning house. Now, he is a letter-carrier hero

VALRICO ó Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night are supposed to keep U.S. Postal Service workers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.Add fire to that list for Jason Moss, a letter carrier for the Sulphur Springs Post Offic...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Turnaround of the season so far? Thatíd be Seffner Christian

Turnaround of the season so far? Thatíd be Seffner Christian

SEFFNER — Junior Isaiah Knowles stood on the Seffner Christian football field before the season and said some things that lots of kids say but aren't necessarily true, or at the very least, are often exaggerated."We are much stronger, faster, s...
Updated: 2 hours ago
SB I-75 closed at I-275 apex following crash near Bruce B. Downs Boulevard

SB I-75 closed at I-275 apex following crash near Bruce B. Downs Boulevard

A crash with injuries early Tuesday morning has closed southbound Interstate 75 at the I-275 apex into Hillsborough County.The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating a three-vehicle crash that involved a semi-truck in the southbound lanes of I-75 ne...
Updated: 3 hours ago