Mother-son duo charged with $237K affordable housing fraud 

Gwendolyn J. Martin and son Lawrence Amos each face a charge that could carry up to 30 years in prison, in an alleged CHA scam

Kwame Raoul Charges Mother-Son Duo in Alleged Housing Fraud
Attorney General Kwame Raoul (Getty)

Illinois is cracking down on a mother-son duo who the state alleges defrauded Chicago’s affordable housing system out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in government assistance for which they weren’t eligible.

Attorney General Kwame Raoul filed charges against Gwendolyn J. Martin, 59, and her son, Lawrence Amos, 43, both residents of Chicago, for allegedly orchestrating a 16-year scheme that involved falsifying documents to obtain funds and benefits from the Chicago Housing Authority, the Illinois Housing Development Authority and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“Without the assistance provided by the Housing Choice Voucher Program, many families in need would have nowhere to turn for housing support. It is unconscionable any individual would take advantage of this vital program,” Raoul said in a statement.

Martin allegedly misrepresented her eligibility for housing choice vouchers through the CHA by concealing ownership of a residential property, according to Raoul’s office. Furthermore, investigators claim Martin and Amos collaborated to have Amos act as the agent for properties rented using Martin’s illicitly obtained CHA vouchers, thus diverting funds for personal gain.

Raoul’s office claims more than $236,000 was paid between December 2008 and May 2024 as a result of Martin’s voucher, while more than $158,000 was paid directly to Amos as a result of the voucher.

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“Martin and Amos engaged in a long-running, sophisticated financial fraud for many years, falsifying multiple government records, misrepresenting their identities, and profiting off of CHA’s scarce housing voucher resources, while depriving those in need of housing from getting the assistance they need,” Kathryn Richards, Inspector General for the CHA, said in a statement.

Furthermore, the accusations extend beyond housing benefits. Martin and Amos are also alleged to have fraudulently applied for and received funds from the Paycheck Protection Program through the SBA, for nonexistent businesses.

Martin and Amos each face a Class X felony charge of theft of government funds over $100,000 that could carry up to 30 years in prison if they’re convicted. They each also face multiple other felonies that could lead to prison time.

Assistant Attorney General Haley Bookhout from Raoul’s Public Integrity Bureau is set to prosecute the case.

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