3 family members of former director of St. Clair Housing Commission plead guilty to conspiracy, defrauding HUD

DETROIT – Three family members of the former director Lorena Loren of the St. Clair Housing Commission have pleaded guilty to conspiracy and defrauding the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The three family members pleaded to various federal offenses due to their involvement in Loren’s fraudulent scheme to steal money from HUD.

Loren, who is now deceased, had previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to prison for conspiring with several family members to steal federal funds that were meant for low-income housing programs within St. Clair County.

Loren stole around $336,000 in federal funds, including money meant for HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher program (Section 8 housing), which allows low-income families to lease privately owned rental properties with the assistance of HUD rental subsidies.

Loren’s husband, Brian Loren, 61, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit federal program fraud. Court documents say Brian Loren conspired with his wife and others to embezzle money from the St. Clair Housing Commission.

Brian Loren faces a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Lorena Loren’s son Ryan Loren, 35, pleaded guilty to receiving unlawful compensation from HUD with the intent to defraud. He agreed that he illegally received between $40,000 and $95,000.

Ryan Loren’s wife, Kayla Loren, 31, pleaded guilty to receiving unlawful compensation from HUD with the intent to defraud. She admitted that from August 2008-2016, she made false statements to HUD and to a federal grand jury regarding where she lived so she could receive improper funds from HUD.

She agreed that she illegally received between $40,000 and $95,000.

Ryan and Kayla Loren each face a maximum of one year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

As part of their guilty pleas, they agreed that they would pay the remaining restitution owed to HUD, which was $99,835.29; the restitution that has been paid in total to HUD as a result of the prosecutions of the Loren family was $336,340.22.

“The HUD Section 8 program serves some of the neediest in our community, very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled. We are committed to prosecuting public officials who steal from any federal program and anyone who assists public officials in depriving legally-entitled citizens of the vital assistance they need,” said US Attorney Dawn Ison.

“HUD OIG is committed to bringing to justice those who fraudulently divert Federal housing program resources for their own personal gain,” said Special Agent in Charge Machelle L. Jindra. “Together, with our law enforcement partners, we will pursue and hold accountable bad actors who prey on our most vulnerable communities and steal taxpayer-funded resources that support these programs.”

“Having been trusted to serve the residents of St. Clair as a public official, Lorena Loren instead conspired with her family to steal federal funds for herself and her family, and today that family is admitting their collective role in that criminal scheme,” said James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office. “This case is yet another example of the FBI’s commitment to rooting out public corruption in order to protect the integrity of the institutions that are supposed to serve the best interests of our citizens.”

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