Former Housing Authority Executive Director Robinson sentenced to prison

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Former executive director of the Housing Authority, 61-year-old Tonya Robinson, was sentenced to nine years in prison after being found guilty of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud in late 2023.

Robinson was also given two years supervised release and ordered to pay $3.2 million in restitution. On Nov. 1, 2023, she was being found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, six counts of bank fraud, one count of wire fraud, and one count of federal program theft.

The Housing Authority of South Bend (HASB) provides housing opportunities and services to the local community, managing more than 800 public housing residential units.

Sometime in 2015 through 2019, Robinson served first as Interim Executive Director and then Executive Director of the HASB. She was found guilty of conspiring with employees at the HASB and with outside contractors to defraud the HASB.

"The fraud scheme involved the issuance of HASB payment checks to four outside contractors for contracting work that had not actually occurred," the U.S District Attorney's Office said.  "These contractors would then deposit the HASB payment checks, withdraw a portion of each check in cash, and hand-deliver the cash back to co-conspirators at the HASB’s main office."

Authorities say Robinson was involved in creating hundreds of fraudulent documents to conceal the crime.

“Defrauding taxpayers in schemes that divert federal funds from their intended purpose will not be tolerated," said United States Attorney Clifford Johnson. "Ms. Robinson’s criminal scheme injured both federal taxpayers and South Bend Housing Authority tenants because federal monies that were intended to keep those housing units safe and habitable were not available for that purpose. This case demonstrates how our law enforcement partners and my office will work together to hold federal fraudsters accountable.”

The FBI's Indianapolis office was also involved in the investigation.

“Robinson was supposed to be a public servant in her role at the South Bend Housing Authority, but she chose to use her position of trust to line her own pockets,” said Herbert J. Stapleton, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis Office. “The FBI and its law enforcement partners will continue to investigate all public officials who use their positions for personal gain.”

Due to the financial nature of the crimes, the IRS was also involved.

“Stealing from taxpayers is not just theft—it’s a betrayal of the public trust and an assault on our democracy,” said Jason Bushey, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Chicago Field Office. “Trust in our institutions at every level of government is non-negotiable, and IRS Criminal Investigation and its fellow law enforcement partners will continue to hold individuals like Robinson accountable for betraying the trust taxpayers bestow upon public servants.”

Robinson’s co-defendants who were previously convicted, received the following sentences:

  • Tyreisha Robinson was sentenced to term of imprisonment of time served, two years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $1,714,956.87 in restitution to victims of the offense.
  • Douglas Donley was sentenced to a total term of 27 months in prison, two years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $303,920.00 in restitution to victims of the offense.
  • Archie Robinson III was sentenced to a total term of 6 months of imprisonment, two years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $1,152,636.00 in restitution to victims of the offense.
  • Ronald Taylor, Jr. was sentenced to a total term of 44 months in prison, two years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $1,714,956.87 in restitution to victims of the offense..

“Tonya Robinson and her co-conspirators engaged in an egregious false billing and kickback scheme resulting in the theft of critical taxpayer dollars,” said Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Manuel Colin with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General. “Moreover, they violated the trust of the communities who rely on HUD programs and risked damaging the programs’ integrity. HUD OIG will continue to work with its prosecutorial and law enforcement partners to vigorously pursue those who seek to profit by abusing HUD-funded programs.”

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