State, local and county partners announce successful prosecution in Muskegon fraud scheme

Last Friday, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, along with the Muskegon City Police Department and the Muskegon County Prosecutor, announced the successful prosecution of Aaron Pulsifer, a former employee of Community enCompass, for defrauding the COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) program. Pulsifer was sentenced to a minimum of seven years and a maximum of 30 years in prison and ordered to pay $124,050 back to MSHDA.

MSHDA’s Audit, Compliance, and Fraud Investigation Division, along with local police, investigated Pulsifer in response to a report of suspected fraud, and found that he had conspired with others to submit multiple fraudulent CERA applications.

“This program provided peace of mind to renters and landlords at a time when they needed it most,” said Amy Hovey, CEO and executive director of MSHDA. “We continue to work hard with state and local law enforcement partners to preserve the integrity of our programs, pursue all allegations of fraud, waste, or abuse, and recover any program funds obtained illegally.”

The CERA program, which was established in March 2021 to assist Michigan residents with rental arrears due to financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, is now closed. While the program was operating, MSHDA processed 307,145 CERA applications and provided $983.1 million in aid to help Michigan families in need avoid eviction, while ensuring landlords could recoup owed rent.

“The Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office was proud to be a partner in this investigation and prosecution,” said Muskegon County Prosecutor DJ Hilson. “Holding those accountable who steal money from those in our State that need the assistance will always be a priority of my office.”

“We are moving quickly at the state to unearth, investigate, and prosecute fraud of our programs wherever it occurs,” said Jonathan Hilliker, Director of MSHDA’s Audit, Compliance, & Fraud Investigation Division. “This latest prosecution should send a message to anyone who took funds away from those who needed it: we will find you, and you will be held accountable.”

Anyone who suspects fraud, waste, or abuse of any MSHDA program can call 517-335-9953 or use the online MSHDA fraud complaint form at