Ridgefield woman charged with embezzling from Fairfield Housing Authority

A federal grand jury sitting in New Haven has returned an indictment charging Elizabeth Jo Gutierrez, 47, of Ridgefield with one count of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds. The indictment alleges that Gutierrez embezzled $30,000 from the Fairfield Housing Authority.

The indictment was returned on Jan. 23, and Gutierrez appeared Jan. 31 before United States Magistrate Judge Donna F. Martinez in Hartford, pleaded not guilty to the charge and was released on a $50,000 bond.

The Fairfield Housing Authority administers federal housing programs for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development with the mission of providing affordable housing for eligible low-income families and the elderly.

According to the indictment, Gutierrez served as the executive director of the Fairfield Housing Authority from approximately July 2010 to December 2011. In the summer of 2011, Gutierrez issued two checks, each in the amount of $15,000, from the Fairfield Housing Authority’s checking account and subsequently deposited them into her own checking account.

The charge of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years.

David B. Fein, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, said an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny in Hartford.

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