Spokane Property Management Company Agrees to Pay More Than $300,000 for Fraudulently Claiming Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars in Rent Assistance During COVID-19 Pandemic

U.S. Attorney’s Office – Eastern Dist. of Wash.

Spokane, Washington – Vanessa R. Waldref, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington announced All Star Property Management, LLC (All Star), a property management company located in Spokane, and Arlin Jordan, have agreed to pay $329,196 to resolve claims they falsely and fraudulently claimed hundreds of thousands of dollars in rent assistance intended to benefit struggling renters during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress established an Emergency Rent Assistance program to provide funds through local and tribal governments to benefit struggling renters who had fallen behind on rent due to unemployment or other hardship.  In Washington, the program was known as the Treasury Rent Assistance Program (T-RAP).  Under T-RAP, landlords or property management companies could apply for T-RAP federal funding for a tenant’s past due and projected unpaid rent.  As a material condition of receiving federal funds, landlords were required to certify that the information included in the T-RAP application, including the rent amounts, were truthful and accurate, and to certify compliance with material T-RAP program requirements.  Landlords were further required to apply any funds received for a particular tenant to that tenant’s balance.

According to court documents, during the relevant time period, All Star was a property management company, owned by Gieve Parker, that managed rental properties on behalf of landlords in Spokane, including several properties owned by Arlin Jordin.  Jordin was currently serving a prison sentence at the Coyote Ridge Corrections Center in Connell, Washington, for drugging and raping a tenant, but Jordan continued to own and collect income from Spokane properties managed by All Star, for which All Star and Jordin split the rental income. 

“All-Star Property Management, Ms. Parker, and Mr. Jordin used false and fraudulent information as part of a scheme targeting precious and limited rent assistance funds. As a result, they lined their pockets with money that should have been used to keep people in a safe, secure, affordable home during a deadly pandemic,” stated U.S. Attorney Waldref. “Landlords and property management companies need to play by the rules. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to hold accountable those who abuse critically important housing support programs.”

As All Star Property admitted in the Settlement Agreement, All Star Property and Parker certified and submitted T-RAP applications that contained inaccurate information, including, inflated monthly rental amounts, owed rent money for months when the residents were not living at the property, and owed rent money for months where tenants were receiving rental assistance from outside organizations. This inaccurate information resulted in overpayment of federal emergency rental assistance funds for which All Star and Parker were not eligible.  With respect to rental properties managed by All Star Property for Jordin, a management fee was subtracted from received T-RAP funds and retained by All Star Property, and the remaining received T-RAP funds were paid to Jordin.  The result of which was that Jordin received overpayment of T-RAP funds that he was not otherwise entitled to.

United States Attorney Waldref further stated that, “Importantly, this case came out of Washington’s right-to-counsel program for indigent renters facing eviction.  Equal access to justice in eviction defense is helping shine a light on these fraudulent practices in ways that was not possible before this important program existed. We will continue working with community and housing rights organizations like the Northwest Justice Project to hold landlords accountable when they put profits before tenant’s rights.” 

This case was originally brought by the Northwest Justice Project, Washington’s largest legal aid organization, on behalf of Krystal Jeffries, a former tenant in a property owned by Jordin and managed by All Star.  Under the False Claims Act, whistleblowers may file an action under seal in federal court. The United States investigates the allegations and determines whether to intervene in the action.  Under the False Claims Act, the United States may recover up to three times the damages caused by the Defendant, plus additional penalties for each false claim or statement.  Over the past decade, False Claims Act recoveries in the Eastern District of Washington have exceeded $400 million.  If the United States obtains a recovery, the whistleblower is generally able to share in a portion of the recovery.  Here, Relator Krystal Jeffries will recover more than $68,000 of the settlement amount, plus additional attorney fees of $18,660 recovered by the Northwest Justice Project. 

A video statement from U.S. Attorney Waldref can be viewed here. 

Assistant United States Attorneys Jake Brooks and Dan Fruchter prosecuted this case on behalf of the United States.  The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Spokane Resident Office.