February 3, 2016 |
Reading's former city council president was ordered Monday to serve two years in prison, becoming the first public official sentenced as part of a bribery investigation that has also implicated mayors in two Pennsylvania cities. Francisco Acosta, 40, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy in August, admitting that he accepted a $1,800 bribe meant to buy his support to repeal the city's anticorruption ordinance, which put caps on political contributions and barred government contractors from donating to campaigns.
January 9, 2016 |
"Experience teaches us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent. " - Louis Brandeis The impulse to ferret corruption from politics corrupts the criminal justice system when it causes overzealous prosecutors and judges to improvise novel interpretations of the law of bribery. Consider Robert McDonnell's case. Virginia's former Republican governor has been sentenced to prison for actions that he could not have reasonably anticipated would be declared felonies under a dangerous judicial expansion of federal law defining bribery of public officials.
December 20, 2015 |
Former Philadelphia Sheriff John D. Green's two decades in office were plagued by troubling audits and allegations from city and state watchdogs of cronyism, mismanagement, and fraud. On Friday, federal authorities added a new wrinkle to the legacy of the retired lawman, accusing him of taking bribes worth six figures from a top campaign donor and friend who was granted a virtual stranglehold over $115 million in Sheriff's Office contracts. Prosecutors allege that Green, 68, all but handed over the reins of one of the major duties of his office - managing court-ordered sales of foreclosed properties - to advertising and title firms owned by James R. Davis Jr., 65, of Wyncote.
August 7, 2015 |
A WEEK AFTER he was charged in an 85-page indictment with U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah and three others, Herbert Vederman, a lobbyist and former deputy mayor, appeared in court yesterday before a federal magistrate. A short, thin man with white hair, dressed in a dark suit and wearing glasses, Vederman, 69, did not speak during his brief appearance before Magistrate Judge Thomas Rueter. Upon agreement by prosecutor Eric Gibson, a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, and Vederman's attorney, Catherine Recker, Vederman, who has not been in custody, was released on a $100,000 personal-recognizance bond.
July 10, 2015 |
A military contractor at the center of what the Defense Department has described as the largest contracting and bribery case to come out of the Iraq War was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in federal prison Wednesday. But as George H. Lee Jr. saw it, he did little, if anything, wrong. In a rambling speech to U.S. District Judge Joel H. Slomsky, Lee, 72, a Montgomery County native, said he was remorseful, yet repeatedly denied having done anything to be remorseful for. Despite pleading guilty to bribery this year, Lee rejected prosecution claims that he gave more than $1 million in cash, jewelry, spa treatments, and hotel stays to Army officials who steered $20 million in contracts his way. "I know what I did was wrong, but I just have this feeling that I didn't do anything wrong," he said.
March 11, 2015 |
TWO STATE representatives and a former one are expected to be charged today in the sting investigation that was buried by Attorney General Kathleen Kane and then resurrected by Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams. The current representatives are Michelle Brownlee, 58, and Louise Bishop, 81, a minister who hosts a weekday gospel-radio show. They allegedly were caught on tape accepting money from lobbyist-turned-informant Tyron Ali. The former representative facing charges is Harold James, 64, who's also a former police officer.
December 19, 2014 |
U.S. Rep. Robert Brady, the chairman of the Philadelphia Democratic Party, on Wednesday called state Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane "asleep at the switch" and said he had no faith in his fellow Democrat as the state's top law enforcement officer. The harsh assessment came a day after criminal charges were announced against two state lawmakers from Philadelphia in a bribery probe Kane had declined to prosecute. Brady's comments were a clear sign of the political damage Kane has sustained within her own party from her handling of the corruption probe.
December 17, 2014 |
HARRISBURG - Philadelphia prosecutors plan to announce criminal charges Tuesday against two more elected officials ensnared in the undercover sting investigation that state Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane rejected as too flawed to prosecute. District Attorney Seth Williams is expected to announce charges against State Reps. Vanessa Lowery Brown and Ronald G. Waters, both Philadelphia Democrats, for allegedly accepting cash from an undercover operative, according to people familiar with the matter.
November 27, 2014 |
A tow truck driver with a checkered history in the city's rough-and-tumble business of clearing wrecks was sentenced to a year and a half in federal prison Tuesday for bribing a city dispatcher to gain a leg up on his competition. By paying for advance notice on the locations of fender benders and disabled vehicles reported to the city's call center, Stepfon Flowers, 24, sidestepped the city's rotation list for distributing towing work, and "undermined the safety of the citizens of Philadelphia," U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno said.
October 29, 2014 |
THE CO-OWNER of a Frankford auto-body shop who pleaded guilty to bribing a police dispatcher for information in the tow-truck business was sentenced yesterday to three years of probation. William Cheeseman, 43, of Delran, N.J., was ordered by U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno to spend the first six months under electronically monitored home confinement. The judge said Cheeseman may leave his home to go to work, for medical appointments or for religious reasons. Robreno also barred Cheeseman from the towing business in Philadelphia during his probation, but did not prohibit him from doing other work.