New York Embezzlers Say Boss Showed Them the Way

A Long Island couple admitted in U.S. Dist. Court in Uniondale, N.Y., Nov. 3 that they lied about their income and the status of their children from 1988-98 in order to receive $108,000 in federal housing subsidies meant for low-income families. Joseph Mizell and his wife, Katherine, both pled guilty to a charge of conspiracy to embezzle money from the Dep’t of Housing & Urban Dev. Mizell said that in 1988 he told a person in his local union that he needed money and that the person suggested the scheme.

Federal prosecutors have charged that the person was David McKay, the ex-chairman of the Huntington Housing Auth. and a ex-boss of Laborers’ Int’l Union of No. Am. Local 66 in Melville. McKay is awaiting trial on a federal indictment that he himself got $30,000 in illegal housing subsidies and also used his union post to extort another $130,000 from construction firms. McKay allegedly received the $30,000 in subsidies from a house he surreptitiously owned and rented to a niece. Under federal law, housing officials cannot profit from HUD subsidies on property they own.

Another couple, Zachary and Jessie Watkins, charged with gaining $67,500 in illegal HUD subsidies in connection with McKay were scheduled to pled guilty Nov. 4. [Newsday 11/4/99]