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Corruption

NEWS
September 25, 2014 | By Craig R. McCoy, Jeremy Roebuck, and Mark Fazlollah, Inquirer Staff Writers
Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Joseph C. Waters Jr., who has been under federal investigation for more than a year, has agreed to plead guilty to charges that he accepted illegal cash payments and fixed cases, people familiar with the plea negotiations said. Waters abruptly resigned Tuesday, and is expected to plead guilty to wire fraud and mail fraud in a scheme in which he allegedly contacted two other judges to influence a pending lawsuit and a gun-possession case. Unbeknownst to him, the calls he made to those judges were secretly taped by the FBI, a person familiar with the investigation said.
NEWS
August 21, 2014 | By Craig R. McCoy, Inquirer Staff Writer
HARRISBURG - A top state prosecutor told a judge Tuesday that the Attorney General's Office was "breaking new legal ground" in using "a pattern of conduct" - and not explicit "quid pro quo" evidence - as the foundation for its ambitious corruption case against Pennsylvania Turnpike officials and several others. Special Deputy Attorney General Laurel Brandstetter said that the pattern would prove that a cozy and corrupt culture permeated the turnpike leadership, and that contractors plied officials with baseball tickets, golf outings, lavish meals, and campaign donations in return for contracts.
NEWS
August 20, 2014 | By Craig R. McCoy, Inquirer Staff Writer
HARRISBURG - Lawyers for six defendants charged with corruption in connection with Pennsylvania Turnpike contracts ripped into the state prosecution Monday in a last-ditch attempt to shut down or seriously weaken the case before a forthcoming trial. The lawyers said the indictment unfairly sought to criminalize the legal practice of dunning government contractors for campaign contributions. And the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office, the defense lawyers said, had fallen far short in amassing evidence tying gifts and campaign money to specific contracts.
NEWS
August 14, 2014 | By Craig R. McCoy, Inquirer Staff Writer
The lead prosecutor in the looming corruption and bribery trial of former top turnpike officials and vendors - a signature case for the office of Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane - plans to leave her position ahead of trial. Senior Deputy Attorney General Laurel Brandstetter is expected to handle pretrial arguments in hearing next week, but then depart from the Attorney's General's Office Aug. 29, according to people familiar with her plans. The Attorney General's Office declined to comment on the reports of Brandstetter's resignation.
NEWS
August 6, 2014
HOW DOES the city respond when six police officers are indicted on kidnapping, extortion and robbery charges? "Nothing to see here. Move along. " How does the city respond when 22 bodega owners claim that cops snipped camera wires and looted their stores? "Nothing to see here. Move along. " And how about the drip-drip-drip of individual cases of wrongdoing that have led to the arrest of 88 police officers and the convictions of 48 cops in the past six years? "Nothing to see here.
NEWS
August 2, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum and Joseph A. Gambardello, Inquirer Staff Writers
Two contractors for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation were arraigned Thursday as part of an ongoing investigation into "massive and widespread theft, fraud, corruption, and money-laundering" by PennDot officials and contractors in the five-county Philadelphia region. "Those involved in criminal acts include PennDot officials and employees, as well as PennDot contractors and personnel working for PennDot contractors," said the state grand jury presentment, released Thursday by Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane.
NEWS
August 1, 2014
THE CRIMINAL GANG was ruthless and relentless: kidnapping and beating up victims, stealing money and property, and dealing drugs. What set them apart from an ordinary criminal cabal was not their greediness. What set them apart was that they were police. In the latest black eye on the Philadelphia Police Department, a 42-page federal indictment released yesterday describes in chilling language a "criminal organization" whose six members organized for the purpose of "generating money for the members through crimes including robbery, extortion, kidnapping and drug dealing and concealing those activities from law enforcement scrutiny.
NEWS
August 1, 2014 | BY DANA DiFILIPPO, Daily News Staff Writer difilid@phillynews.com, 215-854-5934
THANH NGUYEN raked in big bucks as a contractor hired to sweep streets, remove graffiti and spray herbicide on state roadsides in the five-county Philadelphia area. Problem is, the King of Prussia man didn't do the work - or he double-billed for work he did do, state Attorney General Kathleen Kane said yesterday. So Nguyen, 62, now is charged for allegedly stealing at least $3.6 million in public funds. Robert Slamon, 54, the inspector who Nguyen allegedly bribed to facilitate the fraud, also was charged with conspiring with Nguyen to falsify PennDOT records and help him get paid for work never completed.
NEWS
August 1, 2014 | BY DAVID GAMBACORTA, Daily News Staff Writer gambacd@phillynews.com, 215-854-5994
MAYBE YOU'RE tired of reading news stories about police corruption. Nobody would blame you. According to Mayor Nutter, 146 Philadelphia police officers have been fired for a variety of offenses since his administration took office in 2008. Among those on that ever-growing list, 88 have been arrested, and 48 have been convicted of crimes that have included murder, rape and extortion. Maybe you're disgusted by the bombshell that dropped earlier this week, when six veteran narcotics cops were hauled off to jail on a 26-count federal indictment.
NEWS
July 29, 2014
LET'S TALK pension costs. And let's talk using corruption - arguably our most common public-sector commodity - to bring them down. I'm semi-serious. An overlooked benefit to paying taxes for public pensions in one of the nation's most corrupt states is that wrongdoing saves us money. Think about it. Many forfeit pensions after convicted of crimes under Pennsylvania Act 140 of 1978. Through a Right-to-Know request, I got numbers on some of our more high-profile perps in order to show the sorts of savings available.
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