Richland ‘property manager’ accused of stealing nearly $80,000 from COVID rent relief program

RICHLAND, Wash. — A 71-year-old man is being charged with first-degree theft after he allegedly claimed to be a property manager to pocket thousands of dollars from a rental assistance program, prosecutors said.

According to court documents, Ronald Dean Weis managed to obtain $78,573 dollars in four checks from Aug. 31, 2021, to Dec. 9, 2021.

The checks were signed off by the Department of Human Resources in Benton and Franklin Counties, as part of the Treasure Rent Assistance Program (T-RAP) that’s funded by a federal grant to provide rent payment for people to help avoid eviction.

Documents show T-RAP received applications from a tenant behind on rent with Weis listed as the property manager.

They also said the crime “was a major economic offense… and involved attempted or actual economic loss substantially greater than typical… and involved a high degree of sophistication or planning… over a lengthy period of time.”

Officials said Weis admitted to cashing the money and that he was not a property manager in an interview on Jan. 13.

Weis is currently in custody in the Benton County Jail with bail set at $7,500 dollars.

His trial will be held in Benton Superior Court on March 14.

To view the T-RAP application, click here.

RELATED: 

‘I’d be homeless’: Eviction moratorium extends, relieving residents

Kennewick property owner explains effects of continued eviction moratorium