Former Roxse Homes worker sentenced for taking bribes

A scheme to rent low-income apartments to non-eligible applicants has been discovered, and a Jamaica Plain resident has been sentenced to two years in prison and two years probation, according to a press release.

Ismel Morales, 36, of Jamaica Plain, was working as the maintenance technician for Roxse Homes, a subsidized housing development on Tremont St. in Roxbury. He was found guilty by a U.S. District Court for accepting cash bribes in exchange for renting low-income units. Morales pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and seven counts of corrupt receipt of payments by a federally funded organization.

Mathis Lemons, 42, of Brockton, was the assistant property manager at the time, and has also pleaded guilty to the same charges and is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 20.

Roxse Homes provides low-income families and individuals with rental housing for a subsidized rate with Section 8 housing benefits. In 2014, the development maintained a long waitlist of applicants desiring apartments in the complex. The waitlist had been closed to external applicants since 2009.

From Sept. 2014 to Feb. 2015, Morales solicited and accepted money from individuals who were not on the waitlist. He instructed some of these individuals not to date their applications, or to date their applications in 2006 or 2009, despite the fact that the applications were actually completed in 2014. Lemons added the unqualified individuals to the waitlist, and falsely inputted their application dates to be earlier than their actual completion.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kristina E. Barclay and Eugenia M. Carris of Ortiz’s Public Corruption Unit.

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