Prison for ex-police lieutenant in utility theft

Posted: June 14, 2014

About midway through Aisha Perry's 10-minute rant about being convicted of stealing utility services - she called the prosecutor a liar "jealous of my lifestyle" - Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Earl W. Trent stopped her.

"Do you think this is helping you? I haven't heard the word remorse from you," Trent said.

So it was that Perry on Thursday persuaded a judge who had said he did not think prison was warranted to sentence her to six to 23 months behind bars.

In addition to prison, Perry, 55, a former Philadelphia police lieutenant with 31 years on the force, was fined $5,000 and put on five years' probation.

She was taken into custody a short time after sentencing. She said she would appeal.

On May 1, a jury found Perry and George Suarez, 56, a 26-year veteran officer, guilty of theft of services, conspiracy, and risking a catastrophe. The two bypassed gas and electric meters on four properties they owned.

At the start of Thursday's sentencing hearings, Trent told Assistant District Attorney Terri Domsky that he did not think prison was needed "to protect the people from someone who stole utilities."

Defense attorney Tariq El-Shabazz agreed, arguing that Perry's long career as an officer and whistle-blower about police corruption should not be forgotten because of one bad decision.

Perry, however, resumed the tirade she started when the jury returned with guilty verdicts May 1, railing at Domsky and the court system for her prosecution and conviction.

This time, Perry talked about how the prosecutor was jealous of her success at real estate investment, of her jewelry, and of her Mercedes-Benz.

After the judge interrupted her, Perry tried to highlight some things she had done to help her fellow officers and their families with gifts of money.

When it became clear Trent was going to sentence her to prison time, Perry tried to interrupt.

"No," Trent said. "Your time for talking is over."

"The court certainly didn't hear any remorse or acceptance of responsibility," Trent said. "And her rehabilitative potential is poor."

Domsky had asked for 111/2 to 23 months in prison for both and told the judge that Perry's comments and personal attacks proved "she thinks she is above the law."

In contrast, Suarez told the judge: "I've been convicted by a jury of my peers, so I think it's time I apologize to you and to my family."

Defense attorney Brian J. McMonagle noted that Suarez had already reimbursed Peco for the $4,833 in electricity the jury found he stole from the utility.

Trent credited Suarez's remorse and sentenced him to six to 12 months of house arrest, a $1,000 fine, and five years' probation.

Perry was found guilty of six of nine counts involving the theft of about $22,253 in gas and electricity at her home on Winchester Avenue in the Northeast and an investment property she and Suarez bought in the 1900 block of West Girard Avenue in North Philadelphia. The jury acquitted Perry of two counts and could not decide another.

Suarez was found guilty of nine of 16 charges involving the theft of about $20,230 in gas and electric service at the Girard Avenue property and two others he owns in the 2200 block of West Tioga Street in Tioga and the 500 block of Devereaux Avenue in Crescentville.

Trent let Suarez remain free on $5,000 bail until technical arrangements were complete for him to begin electronically monitored house arrest.


jslobodzian@phillynews.com

215-854-2985 @joeslobo

www.inquirer.com/

CrimeandPunishment

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