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Contractor to plead guilty to federal charges

A Tampa roofing contractor is one of 10 people pleading guilty to charges involving "equity skimming" of almost $1-million from federally insured housing, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced Monday.

Richard Cross Jenkins, 43, of Tampa, owner of Quality Roofing of Florida Inc. and Quality Production Roofing, has agreed to plead guilty to one count of making false statements to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, in what federal prosecutors are calling the first criminal prosecution of its kind in the country.

According to prosecutors, the owners of 13 multifamily housing developments throughout central Florida failed to use rent and other money to repay defaulted mortgages on the properties, as required. The mortgages were insured by HUD. As a result, more than $987,000 was skimmed between 1991 and 1995, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Jenkins broke the law by winning the low bid on various roofing contracts after receiving key information, and then allowing a representative of the property owner to receive a subcontract on some of the work, according to prosecutors.

_ The Associated Press contributed to this report.