Fraud and Abuse

(510) 535-3155

Don’t risk losing your opportunity to receive subsidized housing by providing false, incomplete or inaccurate information on your application and recertification forms.


Suspected Fraud or Abuse


The Oakland Housing Authority Police Department places a high priority on preventing fraud and assuring that housing assistance payments are paid only on behalf of qualified and eligible participants. The Fraud Investigations Unit investigates suspected program abuse or misconduct for both Section 8 and Conventional Housing. The Investigations Unit consists of two full time Detectives and a collections officer, who are supervised by a Sergeant. Upon receiving a complaint, a Detective or Sergeant will be assigned to the case and an investigation will ensue.

Beware of Fraud

​You should be aware of the following fraud schemes:

  • Do not pay any money to file an application for housing assistance
  • Do not pay money to move up on the waiting list
  • Do not pay for anything not covered by your lease
  • Get a receipt for any money you pay
  • Get a written explanation if you are required to pay any money other than rent (such as maintenance charges)
  • Report all income at annual certifications
  • Do not sublease your unit
  • Report changes in your family composition as required by OHA

Penalties for Committing Fraud

  • Possible eviction from your apartment or house or loss of your Section 8 voucher
  • Requirement to repay all overpaid rental assistance you received
  • Up to five (5) years imprisonment and/or
  • Any future participation in a housing assistance program shall be prohibited

Owner Participation


The owners and landlords that participate in the Section 8 Program are also subject to review to verify that they are following the terms of the Housing Assistance Payment Contract. Owners must show proof of current title and must report any property transfers and/or properties that have been foreclosed on immediately to OHA. Any Housing Assistance Payments received after the property has changed ownership must be returned immediately to OHA to avoid possible criminal prosecution and collection remedies.


You Can Help By Reporting Fraud


Help keep the money where it belongs—assisting families in need who meet program qualifications. You are encourages to report incidences of fraud promptly while the facts are still fresh in your mind. The OHA Fraud Hotline at (510) 535-3155 and OHAPD’s online fraud reporting form are each confidential ways to report fraud. Provide as much information as you can. Describe what happened in detail. Around what dates did you notice the suspect activity?  Why does it appear to you to be fraud?  Are there documents that support your claim (such as a side contract between the owner and tenant, a phone bill proving residence at another location, etc.)?  Also, it's very helpful if you have the names and contact information of people willing to talk to a detective. Reports that are too vague or can’t be supported by documentation and/or corroborating witnesses may result in having to close the investigation without any action being taken. You do not have to give us your name. Even if you do, it will be kept confidential.


All Reports Are Kept Confidential


The information that you provide to OHAPD is strictly confidential.   When information is brought forward about possible fraud, the detective conducts an independent investigation--without revealing the name of any person that has brought information to OHAPD's attention.  In conducting the investigation, Primary Investigating Officer (PIO) may review documents, interview neighbors, employers and others, conduct surveillance, and question suspects.  The PIO may review police records, use computer databases of information such as income, assets, and places of residence, and work with other law enforcement agencies.


If the PIO finds that a case cannot be proven without using information that would reveal the identity of the informant, the PIO will contact you for permission to release your identity. If you don't give permission, your name will not be used but the case may not be able to go forward.


Because of confidentiality requirements, OHAPD is not able to make any statements regarding the status of any investigation or results.  Investigations and the process of terminating housing assistance and prosecuting the offender can be lengthy.  Don't assume that no action is being taken simply because you continue to see the family living in the same unit.​​​​​