Lady accused of faking $12,300 software for Westmoreland rental assistance

An Allegheny County woman is accused of using $12,300 from Westmoreland County’s emergency rental aid plan following, authorities claimed, she forged an software for a vacant New Kensington home, according to court papers.

Melissa D. Brandt, 36, of Franklin Park is billed with theft, forgery, identity theft and receiving stolen residence. She was arraigned Tuesday and is free on $15,000 unsecured bail.

Westmoreland County detectives claimed the discrepancy was described in February by Union Mission around Latrobe, which was tapped to administer the application distributing federal cash aimed at serving to renters who endured financial hardship throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Brandt submitted two purposes pinpointing herself as the landlord at a pair of attributes on Kenneth Avenue, law enforcement said. For one of the houses, Brandt submitted a purported lease settlement utilizing the title of a gentleman who formerly lived in New Kensington and claimed his hire was $6,750 in arrears, in accordance to courtroom papers.

She was sent two checks — $9,000 for back and long term hire and $3,300 for utility payments, police mentioned.

The next application Brandt sent requesting $11,250 for a different Kenneth Avenue property was turned down.

The guy whose title Brandt is accused of using advised detectives he never ever rented a property on Kenneth Avenue or from Brandt, did not figure out her image and by no means signed the application for assistance, in accordance to court papers.

Investigators noted that the two attributes concerned in Brandt’s software are owned by a distinctive particular person and vacant. One was in a condition of disrepair, and the
other was currently being renovated.

New Kensington Code Enforcement Officer Pat McGrath explained Brandt is not listed as residence manager or landlord for these houses.

Both of those checks ended up deposited into Brandt’s lender accounts, in accordance to courtroom papers. Her lawyer declined to remark. A preliminary hearing is set for June 29.

Tens of millions of dollars are readily available for renters who are continuing to wrestle monetarily for the reason that of the pandemic. Programs can be observed on a web-site produced for the county’s rental guidance program at erapwestmoreland.org.

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Evaluation staff writer. You can speak to Renatta at 724-837-5374, rsignorini@triblive.com or by means of Twitter .

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