Dakota County agency under federal investigation

November 27, 2018 10:16 PM

A source told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the Office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Inspector General is now investigating the theft of $270,000 from the Dakota County Community Development Agency.

KSTP first reported in August that 39-year-old CDA employee, Yanglee Yang, had been fired in connection with the missing money. Yang was subsequently charged with five counts of theft in early November by Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom.

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Because HUD money is used by the Dakota County CDA to help low-income people secure affordable housing, the source told KSTP the federal government has now decided to find out how much of its money was stolen in Yang's alleged scheme.

RELATED: Former Dakota County CDA Employee Charged With Issuing Fraudulent Assistance Checks

According to criminal charges, Yang established two phony companies in 2016 and used names, in some instances, of dead people to qualify and receive the low-income funds illegally until it was detected in May 2018.

If HUD finds the CDA negligent in the stolen money investigation, the county could face financial penalties and future HUD funding could be jeopardized.

CDA Executive Director Tony Schertler told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the county is still conducting its own internal investigation to find out how the system broke down and to recoup the stolen money.

"We are victims of fraud and have responded accordingly," Schertler said. "We have corrected our processes where, if there were any mistakes made, we've now reported that to the board and to the investigations that are going on now."

Source: At Least $250,000 Missing from Dakota County Housing Program, Employee Fired in Connection 

Schertler said the CDA could not comment on specific security improvements it has made to prevent further fraud "until after the investigations are finished."

Yang's attorney, Marsh Hallberg, told KSTP his client had posted bond in Florida where he had moved before he was charged and will be in Minnesota for his next court appearance in Dakota County.

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