Veteran homeless, landlord continues to collect rent

Veteran homeless, landlord continues to collect rent

MAPLE HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) - An apartment building in Maple Heights is at the center of a CMHA fraud investigation.

It has to do with a program that helps homeless veterans find subsidized housing.

A vet named Michael Bell got a voucher and moved in, but not for long.

The landlord, Alex Hoffman, kicked Bell out and rented the apartment to a new tenant.

CMHA Police Chief Andy Gonzalez says there's just one problem.

"He led Mr. Bell to believe he had lost his voucher and he could no longer live here," Chief Gonzalez said.

Bell has spent recent months at a VA homeless shelter while Hoffman continued to collect $500 a month from CMHA as if Bell had remained.

Hoffman is also accused of collecting an additional $550 a month in rent from the new tenant in that apartment.

19 Action News reporter Paul Orlousky asked Hoffman, "This says that you double billed, collected double rent. Any explanation?"

"No, I'm not talking to you," Hoffman answered.

Chief Gonzalez credits the new tenant with bringing this case to light.

He says the tenant came forward after Hoffman gave her unusual instructions before an annual inspection.

"The landlord, basically Mr. Hoffman gave her directions or instructed her to lie about the status of her apartment," said Chief Gonzalez.

He told her to say Michael lived there but was not at home.

Now CMHA has reached out to Mr. Bell with a new voucher so he will not be homeless much longer.

Hoffman has been indicted by a Grand Jury.

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