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Ex-manager of housing accused of diverting funds

The former manager of seven HUD-subsidized, low-income apartment complexes in Maryland was charged yesterday by federal prosecutors with skimming $840,000 from the projects and diverting the money for his use.

In what prosecutors described as the first charge in the state under a recently enacted federal law prohibiting equity skimming, Monte Greenbaum of Columbia was charged with diverting rent checks and security deposits from tenants from 1993 to 1998 and misappropriating HUD funds earmarked for building repairs.

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Prosecutors also said that Greenbaum, 50, who managed the apartments as head of Catonsville-based Maryland Property Associates Inc., forged papers and made false statements on bank and audit documents to defraud the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

If convicted, Greenbaum could face up to five years in prison and $500,000 in fines, prosecutors said.

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First Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen M. Schenning said skimming money from low-income housing projects hurts tenants by siphoning funds that would be used to repair and maintain properties. "The government is real serious about holding people accountable," Schenning said.

Martin H. Schrieber -- an attorney with the Baltimore firm of Brown, Goldstein & Levy, which represents Greenbaum -- declined to comment on the charges.

According to prosecutors, Greenbaum managed nearly 1,700 apartment units in Baltimore, Baltimore County, Cumberland and Hagerstown. They included Uplands Apartments in West Baltimore and Chesapeake Village Apartments in Middle River.

Prosecutors did not say what happened to the money that allegedly was skimmed.

Yesterday's charges were the result of an investigation by the FBI and HUD's Office of the Inspector General.

Pub Date: 3/03/99



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