Police say Charlotte business owner owes $54,000 after accused of Housing Authority fraud



Police say a Charlotte woman owes more than $50,000 to the Charlotte Housing Authority after she is accused of receiving assistance she should not have for years.

In a July investigation, Eyewitness News looked into the problem of housing fraud, the crackdown on offenders and ongoing efforts to get the money back.

Allison Preston with the CHA said an internal investigation launched in April 2011 came to a head last week with the arrest of Nikka Ware.  Police said she received housing assistance she didn't qualify for and charged her with false pretense and fraudulent misrepresentation.

Preston said Ware owes the Housing Authority $54,215.  Preston said an investigation revealed since 2004, Ware either misrepresented her income or reported she was unemployed. 

"We determined that she was working. She owned her own business," he said.

Channel 9 checked state records, and an online database listed Ware as the owner of a day care center in north Charlotte.  

While compliance officers have tools to verify eligibility in the housing voucher program, Preston said they also expect participants to voluntarily report any changes in income so their assistance can be adjusted.

"Being self-employed, it's up to you to report that information accurately and if you fail to do so, eventually the system will catch up with itself," Preston said.

Channel 9 spoke to Nikka Ware by phone about the charges.  She referred us to her attorney, who did not want to comment.

Ware is due in court next month.