Former housing authority manager pleads to theft
Former Covington Housing Authority administrative manager Erica L. Morris pleaded guilty in federal court in Atlanta on Wednesday afternoon to making more than $35,000 in personal purchases on a Housing Authority credit card. The U.S. attorney’s office for the Northern District of Georgia said the 34-year-old Morris was charged with making more than 60 unauthorized purchases on her Authority merchant card from June 2015 to May 2016. The purchases included thousands of dollars’ worth of Visa gift cards. In addition, according to the release, she used her access to the Authority’s telephone account to purchase an iPhone 6. Morris reportedly used the gift cards to pay for various personal living expenses, including paying her husband’s child support costs. In total, she unlawfully charged more than $35,000 to her Housing Authority merchant credit card. Morris worked for the Authority from January 2006 until Sept. 30, 2016, ultimately serving as its administrative manager. In that position, she managed the Authority’s accounting, bookkeeping, human resources, payroll accounts, payable and receivable accounts and service contracts and maintained the office’s business records. She was charged with one count of federal program theft on a criminal information on Sept. 13. “By stealing more than $35,000, Morris betrayed the trust given to her by the Covington Housing Authority,” said U.S. Attorney John A. Horn. “Morris stole money that was supposed to be used to serve the low-income families of Covington and used the money to support her own lifestyle.”
The Covington Housing Authority was established in 1965 and, according to its website, seeks to “provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing, in good repair, to low-income families at an affordable rent.”
No sentencing date has been set, spokesman Bob Page of the U.S. attorney’s office in Atlanta said. Page said sentencing guidelines were not immediately available.