Woman accused of defrauding the public housing system

West Palm Beach woman charged with grand theft

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - An assistant director at Palm Beach County's Public Housing Authority and three of her co-workers are charged with grand theft. Investigators say they racked up more than 97 thousand dollars in benefits they weren't supposed to have.

Police say Kerchevella Wallace, Palm Beach County Housing Authority Assistant Section 8 Housing Director, forged paperwork with the help of 3 other authority employees to get approved for an apartment at Saddlebrook Apartments in West Palm Beach.

Arrest papers show she lived at her mom's house in Riviera Beach and charged her ex-boyfriend $950 a month for rent to live at the Saddlebrook apartment.

Authorities also say Wallace used her position to help her sister get housing assistance illegally by bypassing the normal section 8 waiting list.

Wallace's sister was allowed to transfer her benefits to a Tallahassee apartment according to arrest papers.

The three employees, whom investigators say helped in the scheme, were identified as Teronda White, Stephanie Hales and Victoria Larkins. They were also arrested.

Palm Beach County Housing Authority Interim Director Laurel Robinson says the news, especially about Wallace, came as a shock. "She was a trusted employee and a lot of heartache goes along with that, people that you think you can trust prove that that's not the case," said Robinson.

Saddlebrook Apartments resident Ivory Burns says it's hard enough to get on the section 8 waiting list and isn't happy about these arrests. "It's hard times out here man. People are just trying to do what they need to do," said Burns.

Mary Sharpe's sister also lives in the apartments. While visiting her sister, Sharpe said, "I think it's wrong and what they did is just not right."

Wallace's bond was set at $5,000.

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