Sheriff's Office scam

Posted: March 02, 2012

A PHILADELPHIA woman yesterday became the fifth person charged in a scam that bilked the Sheriff's Office out of more than $400,000.

Authorities allege that Jesseca Batton, 32, schemed with a former accounting employee there, Richard Bell, and obtained five bogus checks for a total of $29,623.

Batton, who was not a city employee, divided the proceeds with Bell, the charging papers said. Bell, 36, pleaded guilty in January and faces 27 to 33 months in prison.

Prosecutors said that between 2007 and 2010 Bell wrote bogus checks worth more than $400,000 drawn on Sheriff's Office bank accounts made payable to unauthorized individuals. The checks were forwarded to another accomplice, who took his cut and passed remaining checks to two other co-conspirators.

- Michael Hinkelman

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