Low-Income Housing Developer Accused of Scheme to Defraud Government Out of Millions

If nothing else, the Dallas City Hall federal corruption case provided us with a lesson on how you get tax credits to build low-income housing. Which should come in handy for those who want to follow this case filed in Dallas federal court on Friday: Monique Allen and UPCDC Texas, Inc. v. Noorallah Jooma Et Al., which tops this morning's Courthouse News.

Long story short: Allen's president of Urban Progress Community Development Corporation, and she's accusing Jooma of enlisting the nonprofit in a "far-reaching scheme to defraud numerous government agencies, the state of Texas, the United States, and the public at large out of millions of dollars in low income housing tax credits and public funds."

The suit, as you'll see, is one of several filed against Jooma in recent months in Dallas federal court. But the most recent one alleges that Jooma, "through his corporate Defendants and the help of certain key conspirators, procured millions of dollars from the U.S. Treasury, HUD, and the IRS under knowingly false pretenses by forging signatures, stealing architectural plans, and signing fraudulent tax credit applications on numerous tax credit apartment transactions around the state of Texas."

As you probably recall from the Don Hill case, the state demands those seeking housing tax credits have some, ya know, previous experience with that kind of thing. Since Jooma didn't, says the suit, he partnered with UPCDC, which did. (Allen, as a matter of fact, is listed on the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs' Housing Finance Corporation contact list as the city of Dallas's official alternate contact, after Karen Schaffner in the Office of Economic Development.)

But at some point, the suit alleges, Jooma laid out a plan that involved cooking the books and creating phony contracts. Says the suit, "Jooma detailed his intent to not only pocket the huge upfront developer fee, but that he intended to pocket an additional $1.1 million dollars on the construction materials on the construction side of the transaction."

Allen's suit says UPCDC was properly "appalled"; so too were developers and contractors, including Plano-based Architettura Inc., who also distanced from Jooma. Which, the suit says, didn't stop Jooma from finding others to help him fill out the state's paperwork and moving forward with his plan -- which involved, among other things, using and re-using Architettura Inc.'s plans, resulting in several copyright infringement suits filed earlier this year and consolidated into a single suit on April 29. (The initial suit follows.)

UPCDC's suit accused Jooma and his affiliated companies of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Jooma has denied all the allegations in the Architettura suits.Architettura Inc v Jooma

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky