SALEM, MA – A landlord who owns 16 apartments in Lawrence and pleaded guilty to forging occupancy permits and de-leading certificates to obtain federal Section 8 money for low-income housing must pay a $6,000 fine.
Edward Bonaccorsi II, 54, of Hampstead, New Hampshire, originally from Lawrence, was placed on probation for three years in addition to the fine. Superior Court Judge Timothy Feeley ordered that he not apply for or receive Section 8 benefits in Massachusetts.
State Attorney General Maura Healey announced the sentence Monday.
“This landlord forged documents to obtain government money, putting the health and welfare of his tenants – including young children – at risk,” Healey said. “All residents deserve safe housing and landlords cannot cut corners that put families in danger.”
Section 8 helps low-income tenants by paying to their landlords a portion of their rent.
Bonaccorsi recently pleaded guilty to six counts of forgery, six counts of uttering a forged record and five counts of procurement fraud. This case was referred to the Environmental Crimes Strike Force of the Attorney General’s Office by the city of Lawrence in July 2016 after Bonaccorsi submitted a forged occupancy permit to the Lawrence Housing Authority in an application for Section 8 money for a new tenant.
Investigators discovered he submitted three other forged occupancy permits and two forged de-leading certificates over five years. Bonaccorsi’s company, Essex Printing, had a contract with the city Inspectional Services Department from 1987 to 2010.
This enabled him to print blank occupancy permits, on which he forged the signature of a city inspector, Healey said. He then used the forged documents to obtain Section 8 money for several of his apartments.
The law was enacted to protect children from exposure to lead paint, which can cause permanent damage to a child’s brain, kidneys and nervous system. Even at low levels, lead paint can hamper a child’s development and cause learning and behavioral problems.
Some of Bonaccorsi’s apartments house young children, Healey noted.
Assistant Attorney General Jessica Frattaroli prosecuted the case.