SEATTLE -- Records obtained by KING 5 Investigators show that government inspectors were aware that a Seattle resident was receiving housing assistance to live in a $1.2 million home on Lake Washington.
Inspectors visited the home at least nine time since Lyudmila Shimonova moved in -- yet none of the officials reported the possibility of fraud. Altogether, Shimonova received $135,000 in housing assistance.
Annual inspections required
The government requires annual inspections of property covered by HUD rent subsidies. The inspections are safety related: The government wants to be sure that the public’s money isn't going to subsidize dangerous or uninhabitable properties.
Documents reviewed by KING 5 show that Lyudmila was truthful about her waterfront address, which federal court records show she has lived at since 2003. And inspectors noted the home's features.
According to a February 2009 inspection report, the inspector noted the house is above average, has a deck, high-end appliances, a Jacuzzi tub and a view.
Inspectors recorded all those things but never reported any suspicion about fraud, according to the Seattle Housing Authority. SHA employees conduct the yearly inspections of any property that receives HUD dollars and can and do report fraud, but didn’t in this case.
The home is actually owned by Seattle doctor David Silverstein, whom Shimonova identified as her landlord when she filed for housing and cash assistance and food stamps.
Government investigators believe Silverstein and Shimonova are actually married and that they live together in the lakeside house.
The KING 5 Investigators obtained a copy of the search warrant pertaining to the recent search of the 2,500 square-foot waterfront home. Agents seized a "photo album of family and dog," "greeting cards (anniversary and birthday)," and "2 postcards from Ruben to Mom and Dad." These are things agents might use to try to prove the couple is married.
Neither Shimonova or Silverstein has been charged.