- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 1, 2014

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - An Omaha woman has been sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay more than $141,000 in restitution for her participation in a fraudulent housing scheme involving an official of an AIDS support group, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Tamika Payne, 35, also was ordered to wear an electronic monitoring device for six months, U.S. Attorney Deborah R. Gilg said in a statement.

Gilg’s office said Payne helped her friend and co-conspirator Jason Armstrong prepare fraudulent applications for federal housing assistance funding. Armstrong was a case manager for the Nebraska AIDS Project, a group that provides services to people living with HIV and AIDS.

Some of the applications used names of people who were not clients of the group, Gilg’s office said. Some of the group’s clients’ names were used without their knowledge for the fraudulent housing aid applications.

Payne’s role was to sign false landlord certifications that they were renting to AIDS Project clients, Gilg’s office said. She also cashed the government checks and split the money with Armstrong.

Payne and Armstrong were convicted of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. In March, Armstrong was sentenced to two years in prison and also ordered to pay restitution of more than $141,000.

Jan Sharp, a spokesman for Gilg’s office, said Payne and Armstrong are individually and collectively responsible for paying back the money, but when the total is repaid, the obligation ends. The government doesn’t care how much each of them pays, Sharp said, and won’t keep any money beyond the more than $141,000 ordered for restitution.

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