An investigation by the City Controller's Office has alleged that an accountant working for the city lives outside Philadelphia and owes $4,700 in back taxes and unpaid water bills.

Yvonne Hellams-Crowder, who has worked for the city since 1980, is accused of fraudulently claiming a property in Nicetown as her residence when she actually lives in Montgomery County, according to a report released yesterday.

Municipal workers are required to live in the city as a condition of employment.

The Controller's Office further alleges she owes $2,636 in delinquent property taxes and $2,083 for an illegal water hookup at that property. According to city payroll records, her annual salary is more than $49,000.

Moreover, it appears that she has been running a boarding house out of the property at 4454 N. 17th St., investigators alleged. She had a city rental license for the property, but the license expired last year.

Hellams-Crowder, who currently works for the Department of Human Services, did not return a call left at her North Wales home.

She is scheduled for a preliminary administrative hearing today, said DHS spokeswoman Alicia Taylor.

"We take this very seriously," Taylor said.

The agency referred the case to the Controller's Office last June, officials said.

So far, she is not facing criminal charges, said Harvey Rice, spokesman for the Controller's Office.

To thoroughly document the case, investigators had her Philadelphia property under surveillance 24 times and her home on DeKalb Pike in North Wales at least 11 times.