A federal jury this week convicted a Dorchester resident and former Department of Neighborhood Development program manager of defrauding the government in two separate scams related to her house on Dix Street.
Celia Thomas, 49, of 10 Dix St., faces up to 30 years in prison when sentenced on July 11, the FBI reports.
According to an affidavit by the FBI agent who investigated the case, Thomas made some money on the side by making up a fictitious identity and using that to get federal Section 8 payments from the BHA for two alleged rental units in her home at 10 Dix St., supposedly rented to her real husband and daughter.
To support this falsehood, in January, 2004, Thomas used the fax machine at her place of employment, The Department of Neighborhood Development, to fax a copy of a deed for 10 Dix St. to the BHA which purported to show that "Fitzgeral Thomas" had acquired 10 Dix Street in May 2003. In fact, Thomas had acquired 10 Dix Street in May, 2003. The deed she sent to the BHA by fax had been fraudulently altered to substitute the name "Fitzgeral" for "Celia."
The FBI says Thomas made $69,704 over four years. In 2009, Thomas made nearly $67,000 as a DND program manager, according to the Herald's municipal salary database.
Despite the extra income, however, Thomas spent nearly five years fending off foreclosure on 10 Dix St. In 2008, however, she found a solution: Find some straw buyers who would pretend to buy the property, then secretly let her continue to live there. Thomas paid these buyers $8,000 for their trouble, the FBI agent said. She made payments for them for awhile, then just stopped sending money in and the property went into foreclosure proceedings again.