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Waterloo woman arrested for COVID eviction assistance fraud

Chrishandia Michael White

Chrishandia Michael White

WATERLOO — A Waterloo woman has been arrested for allegedly scamming $20,900 from a government COVID-19 rent assistance program.

Authorities allege Chrishandia Michael White, 32, made up the name of a landlord to submit applications for 11 alleged tenants under the federal Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act.

The case was investigated by the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, and White was arrested Monday on one count of first-degree fraud.

It wasn’t immediately clear if other people were involved, but court records allege the name of the landlord, Christopher Mills, was made up, as was the name used to register the internet account White used.

The CARES Act program is designed to assist renters who face eviction because of unemployment during the pandemic. Applications for assistance are processed online.

Court records indicate the Iowa Finance Authority, which administers the program in Iowa, received 11 applications from Christopher Mills Real Estate for people who were allegedly renting addresses in Cedar Rapids in October, November and December.

Civil Air Patrol Lt. Anthony Doremus gives tour of CAP aircraft.

The applications included a Bancorp Bank account where the payments were to be deposited.

Seven of the requests were paid before authorities became suspicious. Investigators determined the pay stubs submitted by the tenants to support the applications were fake — the companies didn’t have employees by those names. Also, the addresses for the rental properties weren’t owned or operated by Mills Real Estate, records state.

Officials traced the Mediacom internet account used to apply for the program to White’s home at 1410 Lyon Avenue, records state.

DIA investigators and Waterloo police searched White’s home in February.

Civil Air Patrol Lt. Anthony Doremus gives tour of CAP aircraft.

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