Home>Highlight>Already-embattled former Penns Grove councilman charged with underpaying rent

Former Penns Grove Councilman Carl Washington, Jr. (Photo: New Jersey Globe file photo).

Already-embattled former Penns Grove councilman charged with underpaying rent

By Joey Fox, September 07 2021 3:50 pm

Former Penns Grove Councilman Carl Washington, Jr. was charged today with under-reporting his income in order to qualify for reduced rent on a federally subsidized apartment, his second criminal charge in less than two years.

According to Acting Attorney General Andrew Bruck, Washington first came under investigation after the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) learned that the apartment complex Washington lived in had attempted to evict him for allegedly subletting his apartment to an individual arrested for drug offenses.

From there, OPIA discovered that Washington was claiming he only held his job as councilman when he in fact held two other jobs, thus significantly under-reporting his income. In 2017 and 2018, Washington allegedly underpaid – or, essentially, stole – $14,385 via this deception.

“Section 8 housing assistance is meant to lift up low-income families by subsidizing rent, and we will not tolerate fraudulent acts that undermine the program by diverting needed funds,” Bruck said in a statement. “We’re committed to working with HUD’s Office of Inspector General to stop fraud and ensure this assistance reaches those who truly qualify.”

This isn’t the first time Washington, who lost re-election 2020, has run afoul of the law. In December 2019, Washington was charged with stealing $8,200 from the Clean Communities Program, a state park-cleaning program.

Washington was also involved in a complex election-related battle in late 2019. After he lost a tight re-election contest for Penns Grove Council in November 2019, Washington was immediately appointed to another council seat left vacant by a resigning fellow councilman; the candidates who had recently beaten Washington sued, but Washington was nevertheless seated before losing to a Republican candidate last November.

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