Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson, who attended a news conference about the charges, said Section 8 federal rental assistance is meant for deserving families.
"HUD is serious about eliminating Section 8 fraud," Jackson said. "Indianapolis has been a model of the focused, long-term effort that's needed across the country."
Of the 51 charged this week with fraud, 31 were jailed by Thursday, 13 remained fugitives, while warrants on the rest were yet to be issued. Those charged will face two to eight years in prison.
The Indianapolis Housing Authority has been investigating the cases over the last six months, said executive director Rufus "Bud" Myers.
"There is a criminal element that is going on within ... the public housing program," he said.
The charges are part of an ongoing crackdown that has resulted in charges against 231 people since 2001. The government has found $2.1 million in fraudulent housing payments.
It will be curious to see the reaction within the community to Jackson using this particular occasion to announce the crackdown.