Software specialist at Dakota County housing agency charged with stealing $271,000
A software computer specialist with the Dakota County Community Development Authority has been charged with stealing more than a quarter-million dollars from the organization over the course of two years.
Vangyee Leng Yang, 39, has been charged in Dakota County District Court with five counts of theft by swindle occurring between April 1, 2016 and May 31 of this year. Charges allege he embezzled $271,325 by diverting housing assistance checks to phony accounts he created on behalf of clients who were deceased, no longer eligible for assistance, or were not current CDA clients.
The specialist had the funds issued to two property management companies he registered with the Minnesota Secretary of State and had the checks sent to him at his home address in Fridley, a post office box in Eagan and a mailbox at a UPS store in Brooklyn Center.
The checks were deposited in two separate TCF Bank accounts for the property companies, both listing Vang as the account holder.
It is extremely disturbing any time the theft of public funds intended for those in need occurs, Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said in a statement. This is a major economic crime for which we intend to seen an aggravated sentence under Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines if a conviction is obtained.
The CDA sends out about $1.6 million in housing assistance to approximately 2,600 households each month.
The sentences on the five counts range from zero to 20 years in prison and fines from $6000 to $100,000.
Yang was hired by the CDA in May 2014 as a housing information specialist, according to a criminal complaint. In September 2016, he was promoted to the position of software system coordinator and had access to all CDA computer systems and software.
In May, the CDA uncovered irregularities with the assistance checks going to two property companies, Mackey Prime Property LLC and Twin Cities Star Properties LLC, and turned the matter over to the Eagan Police Department to investigate.
The Dakota County Community Development Agency holds the integrity of the administration of our programs in high regard, CDA executive director Tony Schertler said in a statement. The CDA appreciates the support of the Eagan Police Department and Dakota County Attorneys Office on this matter.
Randy Furst 612-673-4224