Middle Tennessee Investors To Pay $200,000 To Settle False Claims Act Allegations Regarding HUD Program
NASHVILLE, TE (STL.News) March 22, 2021 – Laziza Abdullaeva and Aziz Ashurov of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, agreed to pay $200,000 to settle False Claims Act allegations involving misrepresentations in their purchases of certain properties from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), Mary Jane Stewart, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, announced today.
On December 30, 2019, relators William Worrall and Jim Gregory filed a qui tam action against Ms. Abdullaeva, Mr. Ashurov and their investment company, Capital Invest, LLC, in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. Relators alleged that Abdullaeva and Ashurov made false statements that they intended to occupy certain properties they purchased from HUD as a primary residence, but instead resold the properties for a profit and were presently renovating one such property purchased in East Nashville presumably for resale.
“When purchasers misstate their intentions in purchasing federally-owned properties, it impairs the ability of HUD to provide access to affordable housing for everyone,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Stewart. “This settlement sends a message that the Government will take action to ensure that the objectives of HUD are met and to deter investors from profiting through misrepresentations.”
The settlement agreement resolves the United States’ allegations that misrepresentations were made concerning three properties in Nashville, and one property in Antioch that Ms. Abdullaeva and Mr. Ashurov purchased between July 29, 2013 and December 20, 2017. As part of the settlement, Relators will receive a 20% share of the recovery.
“HUD housing programs have been created to aid millions of Americans to realize the dream of homeownership. This action today should serve as notice that through close cooperation with our law enforcement partners this office will work to preserve the fiscal integrity of affordable housing funds and ensure their appropriate use,” said Wyatt Achord, Special Agent in Charge, HUD, Office of Inspector General.
The case was investigated by the United States’ Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee and HUD, Office of Inspector General (HUD OIG). Assistant U.S. Attorney Kara F. Sweet represented the United States.
The lawsuit is captioned United States ex rel. Worrall v. Ashurov, et al., Case No. 3:19-cv-1170 (Trauger, J.). The claims alleged are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.