Border Official From Palmdale Used Law Enforcement Discount on Home for ‘Personal Gain’: DOJ

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A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer from Palmdale exploited a program that offered discounted homes to law enforcement officers for “personal gain,” authorities said on Monday.

A jury found Kanit Kunnaragthai, 49, guilty of two counts of making a false statement to the Department of Housing and Urban Development and one count of making a false statement to maintain his security clearance as a CPB officer, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Kunnaragthai bought a home in Moreno Valley under an HUD program that offered a 50 percent discount to law enforcement officers, firefighters, teachers and emergency medical technicians, the agency said.

Under the program, which is intended to revitalize “distressed communities,” the buyers are required to live on the property for at least three years.

According to evidence presented in court, Kunnaragthai rented the three-bedroom house he bought to college students while he lived with his family in Eagle Rock. In certifications he provided to the HUD during the three-year period, he stated that he lived at the property.

Kunnaragthai also told an investigator with Office Personnel Management that he “never” lived at his Eagle Rock home, the U.S. Attorneys Office said.

Kunnaragthai was scheduled to be sentenced in September.

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