Schenectady County

Rotterdam woman admits to illegally taking funds

A Rotterdam homeowner admitted this week in federal court that she illegally accepted more than $43,

A Rotterdam homeowner admitted this week in federal court that she illegally accepted more than $43,000 in Federal Section 8 housing assistance, records show.

Brenda Derby, 48, also known as Brenda Elman, pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Albany to theft of public funds.

She faces up to 10 years in federal prison at her June 9 sentencing.

She also must repay $43,519 in Section 8 housing assistance she received between 1999 and 2006.

Derby has been free on $10,000 bail. The bail money is to go toward repayment.

The Section 8 program provides rental assistance to low-income individuals. Applicants must meet income requirements, and ownership of a home is a disqualifying factor.

In that time, she allegedly purchased two homes, one in Rotterdam and one in West Lebanon, and even listed her daughter’s name as a landlord receiving the rental benefits, according to papers filed in federal court.

According to court documents, Derby was accepted into Rotterdam’s federal Section 8 program in February 1999, receiving $545 per month in rental subsidies. She was accused of listing her income at just more than $9,000.

She was then hired later that year as a word processor at a local law firm, but she was accused of failing to tell the subsidy program that.

In May 2000, Derby, under the last name Elman, purchased a home on Edgewood Avenue in Rotterdam, also participating in a federal loan program.

By 2001, Derby was accused of changing her address under the rental program to her Edgewood Avenue home. She also changed her landlord’s name to that of her daughter, according to papers. The next year she allegedly jointly purchased a property in West Lebanon, Columbia County.

Derby even allegedly collected rent herself at times from a tenant on the Edgewood Avenue address but didn’t tell program officials.

Rental program officials learned in 2006 that she had purchased the Edgewood Avenue property and terminated her participation, according to records.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Storch. Derby was defended by attorney Gene Primomo.

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