'Not guilty' plea in housing fraud case

GLENDALE — A 69-year-old Glendale man pleaded not guilty Friday to charges that he defrauded more than $18,000 from the city when he falsified housing assistance documents, officials said.

Norayr Aklyan is charged with five felony counts — including one for allegedly defrauding the Glendale Housing Authority and another four for perjury and obtaining money, labor or property by false pretenses, according to a Los Angeles County Superior Court complaint.

The alleged fraud centered on Aklyan not reporting all of his income when applying for federally subsidized Section 8 housing vouchers.

“The Housing Authority takes fraud seriously with respect to the Section 8 assistance program,” said Peter Zovak, the city's deputy housing director.

After being accepted into the city’s low-income housing assistance program, Aklyan allegedly failed to notify Housing Authority advisors that he had set up another bank account in which he deposited about $12,150, according to Glendale police reports.

He received $18,492 in financial assistance from Aug. 1, 2008 to Aug. 1, 2010 while residing on the 1100 block of East California Avenue, according to police.

During the two-year span, Aklyan met with housing advisors several times to go over documents for the rental assistance program, according to police reports. In that time, he declared his Social Security benefits — $870 per month — as his sole income, according to police reports. He also allegedly stated that he had one bank account.

After a housing investigator determined Aklyan allegedly had opened a second bank account at Citibank on Feb. 13, 2009 without notifying the city, he

admitted to incorrectly filing out the housing documents in failing to disclose the account, according to police reports.

He claimed to not understand the signed documents, although housing advisors supplied them in Armenian and English.

Last month, Aklyan reimbursed the city $9,492, a portion of the total loss.

Aklyan, who no longer resides in Glendale, is scheduled to appear July 18 in the Los Angeles County Superior Court in Burbank.

With thousands of low-income people on a waiting list to join the city’s Section 8 program, Zovak said housing officials often work with police and prosecutors to investigate claims of fraud.

Section 8 recipients who are found to be defrauding the program lose their benefits, so that those on the waiting list can receive assistance, he said.

Anyone with information about fraud related to the Section 8 program can call the city’s fraud hotline at (818) 548-6442. Callers may remain anonymous.

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