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Bronx Housing Exec. Accused Of Scamming Special Needs Tenants

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A Bronx housing executive has been fired after allegedly scamming tenants out of thousands of dollars at a special needs apartment house.

Norma Alers and Flora McCoy told CBS 2's John Slattery that they were victimized.

"I think it's fraud and it's theft," McCoy said.

McCoy and Alers are low-income residents of Jasper Hall at 160th Street and Melrose Avenue – 53 subsidized units for families with special needs.

"I think it was wrong for him to take advantage from people who have disabilities," tenant Lisa Asher said.

Tenants say housing coordinator George Henry's scam was an attempt to cheat residents out of the equivalent of one month's rent.

"$1,258 dollars, and as you can see, I gave it to him in one shot," Asher said.

Tenants have receipts of payments to Henry, whose duties were that of business manager.

Residents say they received a letter last July from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, but the letterhead was a fake – and the demand for money was a fraud. The bogus letter said they'd have to pay up, or else.

"He said, 'you have to pay it. This has to be done, or you will be evicted,'" Alers said.

"He called it a 'good faith fund,'" Asher said.

The not-for-profit Lantern Community Services, which operates the building, said Henry has been fired and the tenants have been reimbursed.

In addition, the Bronx District Attorney's office is looking into the allegations and my file criminal charges.

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