Oak Park resident charged with defrauding HUD

? Feds file criminal, civil suits alleging William Moorehead took nearly $1 mil from HUD, $300,000 from Chicago charity.

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By BILL DWYER

A federal indictment unsealed Thursday charges Oak Park resident William Moorehead with two counts of wire fraud in relation to his management of numerous Chicago Housing Authority and HUD properties in Chicago.

Moorehead, 62, of the 1000 block of North Elmwood in Oak Park, was named in a sealed indictment in March along with two former officials of his company, Brian Townsend and Patricia Taylor. All three individuals, who were released on $4,500 bonds on their own recognizance last Thursday, are scheduled to be arraigned this morning before federal judge James B. Zagel at the Dirksen Federal Building.

The government also filed a civil lawsuit Thursday against Moorehead and his firm, William Moorehead and Associates, alleging the misuse of $1,564,275 in HUD project assets or income from those projects. That suit contends that Moorehead and his firm is liable for repayment of double that amount?#34;over $3.1 million, as well as attorney's fees and the cost of the audit that uncovered the alleged fraud.

The alleged fraud and mismanagement was uncovered in the course of an audit conducted by HUD's Inspector General. Moorehead and Associates acts as the managing agent for at least 14 HUD insured or subsidized apartment complexes throughout the Chicago area that total some 7,000 units. Among other properties, Moorehead and Associates manages the Robert Taylor Homes, Lawndale Gardens, Rockwell Gardens and Island Terrace Apartments.

The two count indictment charges that, beginning in early 1994 and continuing through August, 2002, Moorehead, Townsend and Taylor "fraudulently converted, misapplied, misappropriated, embezzled, transferred and took at least $995,000" from various Moorehead and Associates managed properties.

Moorehead, who has been active on a number of business and charitable boards in Chicago, is also accused of taking $300,000 from the near north side Marion Stamps Youth Center, for which he served as chairman.

Attempts to reach Moorehead for comment were unsuccessful.

Moorehead has had other business challenges over the past five years. His firm was one of two management firms fired by the St. Louis Housing Authority in 2000, according to the July 15, 2000 edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The housing authority had accused Moorehead and Associates of not keeping complete financial reports required by a $750,000 annual contract to operate two complexes that contained a total of 418 units of elderly housing. Moorehead, the sarticle noted, denied any wrongdoing, saying he believed his firm was a victim of racism because he is black, and also that he planned to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Closer to home, an April, 2001 Chicago Reporter article noted that Moorehead's firm had been tapped by Chicago Housing Authority to manage "Service Connector," a city sponsored transitional work and training program for residents at a number of it's South Side housing projects. However, a follow up Chicago Reporter article in October, 2002 noted that Moorehead's firm had been fired in May 2002, and replaced by another firm.

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