Robert Charles Sneed, 56, Indio, California, pleaded guilty today to one count of theft of government property for stealing tens of thousands of dollars from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund in California, a program that provides mortgage payment assistance for unemployed or underemployed homeowners.
According to his plea agreement, in February 2016, Sneed lied under penalty of perjury when he signed an affidavit saying that he was unemployed, when in fact he was employed, to receive Hardest Hit Funds administered by Keep Your Home California. Based on his statement and continuing concealment of his employment, he received 18 monthly payments of unemployment mortgage assistance payments of approximately $2,279. He received more than $41,000 from March 2016 through July 2017. He then became delinquent on his mortgage and deeded his house to his 18-year old stepson, who filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition based on Sneed’s request.
United States District Judge John F. Walter has scheduled an October 25, 2021 sentencing hearing, at which time Sneed will face a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.
“Anyone who steals from or defrauds the Hardest Hit Fund will be investigated and prosecuted,” said Christy Goldsmith Romero, Special Inspector General. “I thank the United States Attorney’s Office and FBI for standing with SIGTARP to bring justice.”
Keep Your Home California provided these funds under the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund that provided mortgage payment assistance program that provided eligible low or moderate income homeowners who were involuntarily unemployed with temporary mortgage assistance so that they could avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes. SIGTARP investigated the case with the FBI. Assistant United States Attorney Benjamin J. Weir of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California is prosecuting this case.