FOR IMMEDIATE RELASE: April 2, 2014
CONTACT: Lindsey Thompson
Public Information Officer
MARIETTA – The U.S. Attorney's Office in Atlanta has announced the indictment of Shantel Bowens, Debbie Bailey (AKA Debbie Brown), Tunji "Chris" Imoukhuede, and Babatunde "Babs" Abass (AKA Babatunde Abagun, AKA Simiyu Abagun) on multiple counts.
Both Shantel Bowens and Debbie Brown (AKA Debbie Brown) are former employees of the Marietta Department of Development Services which administers the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Housing Choice Voucher Program, commonly known as Section 8 Housing.
These indictments are the result of an investigation sparked by the due diligence of Housing Director, Daphne Bradwell, and the City's Internal Auditor, Jim Curtis, in conjunction with the Marietta Police Department. During two independent routine audits, Ms. Bradwell and Mr. Curtis both noticed a potential irregularity in program disbursements to local landlords. The matter was promptly referred to Marietta Police Department Investigators who discovered additional similar incidents involving the two former employees.
The investigation uncovered possible theft of federal funds which led Marietta Police investigators to coordinate with HUD's Office of the Inspector General and the U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Georgia.
"We always deeply regret the theft of public funds, but I am grateful that we have highly qualified City employees, whom we can count on to alert us to issues such as these," said Mayor Steve Tumlin. "It is important to note that City Staff uncovered these discrepancies which were vigorously investigated by our own Police Department and in turn given to Federal authorities. The City strongly supports the prosecution of those responsible and we seek to ensure this type of crime never happens again."