Investigation continues into former CAHI director

The investigation continues into whether or not the former director of a self-help home construction outfit embezzled nearly $1 million from its coffers, an official said Wednesday.

Carson Sheriff's Detective Bob Motamenpour said former Citizen's for Affordable Housing Director Ron Trunk is the focus of the investigation that is also being looked into by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

CAHI, a nonprofit organization, helped low-income clients build home with sweat equity - taking part in the construction in lieu of a cash down payment.

Trunk was removed as CAHI director in November after he was asked by the board to resign and refused, said Perry Comeaux, a CAHI board member and interim director before CAHI closed its doors in February.

After Trunk's removal, Comeaux filed a complaint with the Carson City Sheriff's Department alleging that funds were moved from account to account in an elaborate shell game to pay for project costs that were not the intended purpose of the loans.

The alleged misappropriations are said to have begun in March and continued through September of 2007.

Trunk denied the allegations, saying the complaint was in retaliation for his demand of $60,000 in back pay.

"This case is extremely convoluted," said Detective Motamenpour.

He said HUD investigators will conduct a financial audit on the nonprofit and there is a question thus far as to where $284,000 may have gone.

"The investigation is pending the results of the financial audit," he said.

In February, CAHI closed its office and transferred supervision of its remaining projects to the Nevada Rural Housing Authority.

Trunk has had allegations of embezzlement in his past. In 2003, the former president of the Penn Valley Chamber of Commerce pleaded innocent to charges of grand theft and forgery. He pleaded no contest to two charges of grand theft, and as part of the deal between him and prosecutors, six charges of forgery were dismissed.

In that case, Trunk made a fraudulent business deal with an elderly couple in 1999 to borrow $50,000 for a company with which he'd already claimed bankruptcy. He also allegedly embezzled and forged chamber paperwork, withholding $2,450 of rent he was supposed to pay to the property owners on behalf of the chamber.

He was sentenced to serve 180 days in jail, three years' probation and pay $1,576 in restitution fees. On the day of his sentencing, Trunk repaid the couple $50,000, according to reports in the Grass Valley Union.

• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at or 881-1213.


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