Federal housing scam investigation targets Roselle school board member

An unemployed Roselle Board of Education member who owns two homes in the borough is under investigation for allegedly collecting federal housing subsidies for an apartment that was rented to a family member.

Delia Ware-Tibbs is suspected of renting a home at 220 Linden Road in Roselle, which she owned, to her brother, Doryan Ware, while receiving payments from the federal department of Housing and Urban Development.

Officials believe Ware-Tibbs collected Section 8 federal housing vouchers for the rental without notifying the federal agency that she was both the owner of the property and a relative of the tenant.

Delia Ware-Tibbs allegedly collected federal Section 8 rent subsidies for about 10 years on a home she leased to her brother, Doryan Ware and his family.

Her brother, Doryan Ware, who has done jail time for burglary and other crimes, allegedly lived in the house with his family for a period of about 10 years.

During that time Ware-Tibbs was paid by the federal government but she allegedly did not notify the agency that the tenant was her brother.

The Roselle Board of Education is investigating whether Ware-Tibbs, a member of the school board, has violated state financial disclosure laws which could have revealed her interest in the property or illegal receipt of federal money.

The US Attorney’s Office in Newark refused to say if Ware-Tibbs is under investigation by federal authorities for possible HUD violations. U.S Attorney Rachael A. Honig said the Department of Justice generally will not confirm the existence of or otherwise comment about ongoing investigations.

However, several local residents and borough officials said they were contacted by FBI agents, US Postal inspectors or special investigators from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. If she is convicted of federal crimes, Ware-Tibbs could be removed from the school board and potentially barred for life from holding public office.

“Section 8 housing assistance is meant to lift up low-income families by subsidizing rent,” said New Jersey Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck, in a statement released on September 7, 2021. “We will not tolerate fraudulent acts that undermine the program by diverting needed funds.”

“When we uncover evidence of fraud or misappropriation involving government programs such as Section 8, we stand ready to work with strong government partners like HUD’s Office of Inspector General to investigate and charge anyone who has committed a crime,” said Thomas Eicher, Executive Director of the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) Corruption Bureau.

“The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General is committed to vigorously investigating any elected official who fraudulently receives HUD funds meant for low-income households in need of housing assistance,” said Special Agent in Charge Shawn Rice of the Philadelphia office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General.). “HUD-OIG and its law enforcement partners are committed to holding elected officials accountable for abusing government assistance programs intended for those in most need.”

Lawyers who were asked about the matter say Ware-Tibbs could face substantial penalties if she is convicted for lying to HUD.

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) places a high priority on preventing fraud so that anyone who provides false or incomplete information for the purpose of collecting money may be required to repay all overpaid rental assistance you received, subjected to substantial fines and imprisoned for up to five years. One law, 18 U.S. Code § 1010, provides that anyone guilty of lying to HUD shall be fined $10,000 or imprisoned up to two years, or both.

There are numerous federal statutes that can be used to investigate and prosecute various frauds against the government, including 18 U.S.C. § 1001 (false statements), 18 U.S.C. § 287 (false claims), and 18 U.S.C. § 371 (conspiracy to defraud the government).

Delia Ware-Tibbs’ nieces and nephews were students enrolled in the local district when the alleged acts of domestic violence occurred. Doryan Ware was released from state prison on November 16, 2015, following his sentence for burglary on utility company property, a crime of the third degree.

A Roselle police officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity said authorities executed a search warrant about seven years ago at 116 East 10th Avenue, another home owned by Ware-Tibbs, while seeking a gun the same brother allegedly used to intimidate the mother of his children during a domestic violence incident at 220 Linden Road.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Nathan L. Fisher, Board President Dr. Courtney Washington, and two commissioners who were running mates of Ware-Tibbs in her last election—Rev. Jeffrey Bryan and Rev. Frances Teabout—could not be reached for comment.

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