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Former City of Amarillo employee guilty of embezzling $465,000 from homeless program

A former Amarillo city employee pleaded guilty today to embezzling more than $465,000 in funds meant to provide shelter for homeless people, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Leigha Simonton.

Amy Dixon, 44, the City of Amarillo’s former Homeless Management Information Specialist, plead guilty Monday to a criminal information charging conspiracy to embezzle from a federally funded program.

In her role, Dixon was responsible for distributing funds to local landlords through the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development’s Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Program. She communicated with Amarillo property owners who were willing to lease their properties through the program, assisted in completing lease agreements, coordinated physical inspections of their properties, and assembled payment voucher packages. (The program paid market-rate rents to landlords willing to house those who needed assistance.)

According to plea papers, in September 2020, Dixon used a relative's personally identifiable information to create a fictitious landlord, for whom she created fraudulent payment voucher packages. She instructed Amarillo’s Finance Department to call her when the payment vouchers were ready, then signed the relative’s name on the checks and deposited the funds into her personal bank account.

In April 2021, when HUD announced that it would accept inspections completed by outside companies, she began to process payments for fictitious properties.

In total, Dixon created 223 fraudulent payment vouchers resulting in 66 checks written to fictitious landlords, with a total loss amount of $465,511.65.

Dixon now faces up to five years in federal prison.

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