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Feds Bust Former St. Louis HUD Director

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KMOX)  – An indictment relating to a former HUD director and two associates was unsealed Wednesday in federal court.

The indictment names Lavern Charles Hester who was employed by HUD as Director of Multifamily in the St. Louis field office, and Donald and Crevonda Robinson (Cramer) who owned properties that received FHA insured financing and construction funds approved by Hester for the rehabilitation and management.

The indictment alleges that in June 2007 the Robinsons purchased a HUD subsidized multifamily property in St. Louis and another property known as Chevy Chase Apartments located in Mexico, MO, through their company New Beginnings Redevelopment II, LLC.

The indictment alleges between June 2007 and December 2008, HUD Director Hester accepted $38,000 in payments from the Robinsons to facilitate Hester’s approval of a $1.5 million FHA insured refinancing of the mortgage on Chevy Chase Apartments.

Hester of Florissant, MO, was indicted by a federal grand jury on one felony count of conspiracy to provide and accept an illegal gratuity and two counts of making false statements.

Donald Robinson, of St. Louis, was indicted on the conspiracy count and one count each of mail fraud and making false statements.

Crevonda Robinson, of St. Louis City, was indicted on the conspiracy count and one count of mail fraud.

If convicted, the conspiracy count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, mail fraud carries a maximum of twenty years in prison and making false statements carries a maximum of five years and/or fines up to $250,000.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorney Stephen Casey is handing the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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