Former U.S. prosecutor to lead audit of sheriff's books

Posted: January 26, 2011

A former federal organized-crime prosecutor, Louis Pichini, will head the forensic-accounting team trying to make sense of financial records seized from the Philadelphia Sheriff's Office.

City Controller Alan Butkovitz announced yesterday that he's awarding a $462,000 contract to Deloitte Financial Advisory Services for an audit to be completed in about six months.

The team will be led by Pichini, former chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney's Office and lead prosecutor in the landmark 1988 trial that jailed 18 organized-crime figures and sent mob boss Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo to prison for life.

Butkovitz started looking for forensic auditors in October, complaining that he'd spent 18 months trying to audit the Sheriff's Office and that it had provided less than 20 percent of the financial records requested.

The Deloitte probe is to focus on 11 accounts, with receipts that totaled nearly $53 million, the controller's office said.

Deputy Controller Harvey Rice said the auditors would be reviewing material from images of computer hard drives at both the Sheriff's Office and Reach Communications, a major contractor under former Sheriff John Green.

Green resigned at the end of December and then-Gov. Ed Rendell named Green's top deputy, Barbara Deeley, as acting sheriff. Her nomination is pending before the state Senate, and Gov. Corbett is reportedly considering whether to replace her nomination with someone else.

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