An Anaheim woman was sentenced to six months in prison Monday for embezzling more than $83,000 in federal assistance money earmarked for poor tenants who were being displaced from their homes.
Juanita Maria Tachvighi, 44, also agreed to repay to a local agency the Department of Housing and Urban Development funds she embezzled between July, 1986, and early 1988, said Assistant U.S. Atty. Adam Schiff.
Tachvighi pleaded guilty in September to eight counts of embezzling federal funds and theft of government property.
At her sentencing hearing Monday in Los Angeles, Tachvighi apologized and told U.S. District Judge Dickran Tevrizian that she resorted to embezzlement because of financial problems caaused by medical bills from an injury she suffered and the failure of her husband's business, said her attorney, John O. Meyers.
Tachvighi had contracted with the Los Angeles County Community Development Commission to provide relocation services for 10 families whose South Los Angeles-area apartments had been purchased by the agency and targeted for rehabilitation.
Her job was to help them find other housing and to ensure that they obtained HUD assistance funds, which were disbursed by the CDC, Schiff said.
Tachvighi found the tenants new lodging and told them that they qualified for HUD relocation money. But she -cashed most of the checks herself, leaving the tenants to struggle with debts and higher rents in their new apartments, Schiff said.
The $83,395 in restitution will go to the CDC, which eventually covered the families' lost funds, and First Interstate Bank, which cashed some of Tachvighi's checks, Schiff said.