A federal judge in Los Angeles sentenced two brothers to prison on Monday for conspiring to steal from the city’s public housing authority.
The judge sentenced 36-year-old Diego Taracena and 31-year-old Bennett Taracena to nearly two years in federal prison for conspiring to steal more than $500,000 from the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA).
Prosecutors say a third, older brother was the key to the scheme. According to the indictment, 41-year-old Victor Taracena, who managed HACLA's construction program, steered contracts to sham companies established by his brothers. Prosecutors say those companies were supposed to build public housing for disabled tenants.
The brothers allegedly wired at least $30,000 in kickbacks to a Guatemalan bank account. They allegedly used some of it to buy property there.
Victor Taracena reportedly fled to Guatemala and remains a fugitive.