Colonial Heights broker settles rent scam allegations
A Colonial Heights real estate broker has agreed to settle allegations he ran afoul of a federal rent subsidy program.
Harold Joseph Tyler, the owner of Tyler Realty Group, agreed to settle allegations that he collected additional rent from a low-income tenant, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Virginia announced Thursday.
Collecting additional money for rent is not allowed under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program in which Tyler was participating.
The federally funded program, the Housing Choice Voucher Program, is for low-income residents. In exchange for participating, Tyler gets part of the rent from housing assistance funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The U.S. alleged that Tyler violated the federal False Claims Act, a law that sets penalties for defrauding the government.
Tyler had agreed not to receive payments in excess of the agreed rent. Nonetheless, the Tyler Realty Group for about 72 months allegedly collected $190 more than the rent from a tenant in the form of a monthly “non-refundable deposit.” It was the tenant who filed a complaint.
A Tyler Realty Group spokesman declined to comment on the settlement.