- Associated Press - Sunday, January 25, 2015

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A former New Orleans police officer has pleaded guilty to stealing $158,700 from the Road Home rental program created to help low-income families return to Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina hit the state in 2005

Tracie Medus, 39, qualified for the small rental property program by saying she was repairing two apartments for people who needed low rents, but charged more than authorized, said U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite.

Under the program, tenants had to be approved for income eligibility and be living in the apartments before landlords could get paid.

Medus pleaded guilty Thursday to theft of government funds and is scheduled for sentencing April 30 before Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon. She could get up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $317400 - double the theft.

She was working as a police officer when she was charged. She was then suspended. Medus resigned before pleading guilty.

When Medus got preliminary approval for the Road Home money, she provided what she said were her tenants’ leases. Both showed the allowable rent and approved tenants. However, according to a news release from Polite, she was charging higher rent for both apartments and someone other than the approved tenant was living in the other.

She also swore that both purported leases were accurate when she got the money in 2010, officials said.

In October 2010, she submitted another supposed lease indicating that a new tenant would pay the authorized rent, but charged the new tenant a higher rent.

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