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Accused Pr. George's housing funds thief arrested

Randy McRae, the man accused of stealing thousands in federal dollars given to Prince George's County for affordable housing projects, has been arrested, said Sgt. Yakeisha Hines, spokeswoman for the Prince George's sheriff's office.

Hines said she did not know the details of the arrest, but a source close to the investigation said McRae was located by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development investigators Thursday at his residence in Prince George's. The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case is ongoing, said investigators were greeted at the door by a woman who said she was McRae's wife. The woman said her husband was "in the back room," but investigators didn't find him there, so they searched the rest of the house, the source said. They then found McRae "cowering in the laundry room of his basement, hiding from investigators," and he was apprehended, the source said.

Michael Zerega, spokesman for HUD's Office of the Inspector General, said McRae was arrested around 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Zerega said further details may be released later Friday.

McRae's attorney, Ronan J. Gulstone, said he filed court papers Friday indicating that McRae would plead not guilty, and added that allegations that McRae was avoiding authorities were false.

"Mr. McRae ... is eagerly awaiting the opportunity for all of the facts to come out at trial," Gulstone said. "Unfortunately, we're in the position of having to respond to fallacious allegations by unnamed sources, allegations that Mr. McRae was on the run and/or in hiding, and/or cowering are simply false. ... Mr. McRae denies all of the allegations and he's awaiting his chance to have all of the real facts in this case come out."

McRae, 51, was indicted in May by a Prince George's grand jury on three counts of theft, one count of forging a signature and one count of forging a document, officials said. He faces up to 65 years in prison if convicted. According to law enforcement sources, McRae used a local nonprofit, Central Prince George's County Community Development Corp., as a vehicle to steal dollars routed through the county from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He then allegedly cut checks from the accounts the stolen funds were deposited into to pay for everything from lawyer's fees to his utility bills, sources said.

The source said McRae was released Thursday on $50,000 bond.

This post has been updated since it was originally published.

By Jonathan Mummolo  |  June 4, 2010; 4:14 PM ET
Categories:  Jonathan Mummolo , Prince George's County  | Tags: HUD; Prince George's County; indictment; sheriff; Randy McRae, randy mcrae  
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