AP audit reveals misappropriation of housing authority funds

An assistant buyer for New Jersey's Atlantic City Housing Authority (ACHA) is facing embezzlement charges after an accounts payable audit revealed that he misappropriated thousands of dollars from the organization.

Brian Lewis allegedly abused his position as a housing authority staffer by gaining access to construction orders and home repair contracts at a public housing complex in the area, creating fraudulent companies, billing the authority for work that had already been completed and collecting duplicate payments that totaled $150,000.

Lewis is also said to have awarded construction and repair contracts to his own businesses, for which he took payments but failed to complete the work, according to the news source. Housing Authority officials began investigating the discrepancies in October 2010, according to the Press of Atlantic City.

"This started with invoices showing two different entities got paid for the same work," said Pam James, executive director of the Housing Authority, as quoted by the news source. "That's what alerted us, and then it went from there. It just escalated."

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