Third brother sentenced in public housing fraud case

A former Los Angeles public housing official was sentenced Monday to 51 months in federal prison for his role in defrauding the city of more than $500,000 with the help of two brothers.

Victor Taracena, 41, was also ordered to pay the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles $526,727 in restitution, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

His two brothers, Diego L. Taracena, 36, and Bennett A. Taracena, 31 – all from Burbank – were also ordered to pay restitution after each being sentenced to 21 months in prison earlier this year.

Prosecutors say Victor Taracena allegedly accepted kickbacks as manager of the housing authority’s construction program for public housing units that are occupied by disabled residents.

The two brothers established four sham companies to secure the $526,727 over 3 1/2 years, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. At the same time, they paid Victor Taracena $106,975 in kickbacks, at $30,000 of which was wired to a Guatemalan bank account, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Victor Taracena had been living in Guatemala until June, when he was expelled and returned to the U.S. to face the charges.

-- Jason Wells, Times Community News

Follow Jason Wells on Google+ and on Twitter: @JasonBretWells

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