Multnomah County employee diverted rental assistance to their own bank account, auditor says

By April Ehrlich (OPB)
April 14, 2023 12:17 a.m. Updated: April 14, 2023 11:38 p.m.

A former Multnomah County employee working in a rental assistance program attempted to divert thousands of dollars in rent assistance to their own bank account, according to the county auditor’s office.

The former employee, who the county did not immediately name, had successfully embezzled $10,000 from a partner agency in 2021, then tried to get another $10,000 last year, a report from the auditor states.


According to the report, the former county employee had a family member apply for rent assistance through a county partner agency that the employee oversaw. The family member’s $9,000 request was sent to their alleged landlord, who was the county employee.

In 2022, the family member allegedly applied for another $10,000 rental cash payment amount, but the partner agency declined the second transaction.


The former county employee, according to the auditor’s office, used their position to pressure the agency into giving their family member additional benefits. They never disclosed their relationship to the client asking for assistance. Despite the pressure, the second request was not processed.

The Multnomah County Auditor’s Office notified the county sheriff’s office, which conducted its own investigation. That has been shared with the district attorney’s office. Neither the sheriff’s office, nor the district attorney’s office immediately responded to a request for comment Thursday.

County auditors later concluded that the county employee had violated state laws prohibiting government officials from abusing their positions.

It’s not clear if the former employee has been charged for crimes, or if they were fired due to misconduct.

“As of the date of this report, the employee no longer works at the county,” the report reads.

Editor’s Note: The April 13 report from the Multnomah County Auditor’s Office says the former employee was able to get $10,000 in government funds through the initial 2021 rental assistance application. A previous version of this article used a different number quoted by the district attorney’s office.


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