Springfield Property Manager Indicted in Connection with Submitting Falsified Lead Inspection Reports
SPRINGFIELD — A Springfield property manager has been indicted in connection with submitting two falsified lead inspection reports, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.
Dwayne Johnson, age 46, of Springfield, was indicted on Wednesday by a Hampden County Grand Jury on the charges of Uttering False or Forged Records (2 counts). He will be arraigned in Hampden Superior Court on Dec. 3.
The AG’s Office began an investigation into this matter in December 2013 after it was referred by the Department of Public Health, specifically by their Child Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.
Authorities allege that on two occasions, once in November 2011 and once in October 2013, Johnson submitted falsified lead inspection compliance letters so that two Springfield properties that he managed would be eligible to receive government-funded rental assistance payments through HAPHousing. A licensed lead inspector purportedly signed both letters.
HAPHousing is a regional administrator for the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development that administers the Section 8 affordable housing voucher program in the Springfield area. A landlord or property manager must submit appropriate documentation to HAPHousing to become eligible to receive rental assistance payments. Further, if there are children under the age of six living in the unit, a landlord or property manager must submit documentation showing that a passing lead paint inspection was conducted on the property.
However, a review of the letters conducted by HAPHousing and inspectors from the DPH’s Child Lead Poisoning Prevention Program determined that both letters were fraudulent. Investigators allege that the fraudulent lead letters Johnson submitted were forged by altering a prior legitimate lead inspection report prepared by a licensed lead inspector for a different property. Authorities allege that neither of the properties was in lead paint compliance when the letters were submitted to HAPHousing, despite one being rented to a tenant with two young children.
These charges are allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Philip Messier, assigned to the Environmental Crimes Strike Force, with assistance from the Massachusetts Environmental Police and the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program of the Department of Public Health, which was established to prevent, screen, diagnose and treat lead poisoning and the sources of potential lead poisoning.