S.F. grandmother, granddaughter charged in fraud

A San Francisco grandmother and her granddaughter are due in federal court today to answer to charges they defrauded the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development out of more than $126,000.

Seventy-eight-year-old Helen Lowe and her granddaughter — 40-year-old Lauton Joshua of Placer County — are scheduled to make their initial appearance after a federal grand jury charged them with ten counts of mail fraud in August.

Prosecutors say that between 1998 and 2006, Lowe and Joshua received subsidized housing payments from HUD, subsidies intended to go to low-income families.

At the time, Joshua was employed by the Army. She allegedly lied about her salary so she could receive the housing checks.

The government also says that Joshua rented from Lowe, violating HUD rules prohibiting family members from receiving housing benefits when renting to one another.

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