Kentucky city probes theft of $4M in federal funds

Lexington, Ky., officials are probing the theft of roughly $4 million in federal rent assistance and transitional housing funds intended for a nonprofit fighting poverty in the area.

The city said in a statement on Monday that it asked the local police department’s financial crimes unit to investigate.

“Police believe a person or persons outside the government directed an electronic funds transfer into a private account,” the city said in a statement. “The transfer was originally intended for Community Action Council.”

Community Action Council, part of a national network of poverty organizations, has an annual operating budget of more than $40 million and assists 31,000 individuals with housing, workforce development and other services, according to its website.

The organization receives funding from the federal and state governments as well as private foundations, businesses and individual donors.

Lexington officials said they found out the organization did not receive the funds, which were later tracked to a private bank account through three wire transfers. The unnamed bank froze the account later that day.

Erin Hensley, Lexington’s commissioner of finance, said the city’s financial system was not compromised during the incident and local officials were helping the nonprofit ensure continuity of its housing assistance service as it works through recovering the stolen funds.

“Initial information shows no criminal involvement of city or Community Action Council employees,” the city said in its statement.

The Hill has reached out to the Lexington Police Department for further details on the investigation.

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