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NEWS
January 13, 2016 | By Julie Shaw, Staff Writer
Allentown's former finance director pleaded guilty Monday and agreed to cooperate in the ongoing FBI corruption probe that has already ensnared another key aide to the city's mayor. Garret Strathearn, 68, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Juan Sanchez in Philadelphia to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Asked after the hearing if authorities expected Strathearn to provide information on Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Khan said he "can't talk about anybody not discussed in open court or who wasn't charged.
NEWS
December 11, 2015 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
A 23-year-old police officer's son on Wednesday became the third of six Philadelphia prison guards charged in an FBI sting to admit he smuggled drugs and other contraband to inmates in city jails. With tears streaming down his face, Marc Thompson, formerly employed at the House of Correction in Holmesburg, pleaded guilty to one federal count each of attempted extortion and attempted drug distribution. He told U.S. District Judge Mark A. Kearney that he accepted a $1,500 bribe to sneak a cellphone, a charger, and 100 OxyContin pills to an inmate who unbeknownst to him was working with the FBI. Thompson faces up to 40 years in prison at a sentencing hearing scheduled for March.
NEWS
November 19, 2015 | BY JOE BRANDT, Daily News Staff Writer brandtj@phillynews.com, 215-854-4890
A MAN ACCUSED of trying to rob a Parkside bank earlier this month was arrested yesterday thanks to a tip from an alert Daily News reader, the FBI said. Heath Marsh, 40, last known to reside in West Oak Lane and in South Philadelphia, appeared in Monday's "Week's Most Wanted" feature that offers rewards for help in apprehending fugitives. The FBI said Marsh entered the Wells Fargo Bank at 52nd and Jefferson streets just after noon Nov. 2. He allegedly barged into the manager's office, displaying a fake bomb and demanding money.
NEWS
November 13, 2015 | By Matt Gelb, Inquirer Staff Writer
Six days after a jury convicted Chaka "Chip" Fattah Jr. on federal bank- and tax-fraud charges, he has asked the U.S. Justice Department to launch a formal investigation into the possibility that prosecutorial misconduct may have tainted his case. Fattah, in a letter Wednesday to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, said his constitutional rights were violated when the lead investigator in the case tipped off an Inquirer reporter in 2012 to FBI raids at Fattah's Ritz-Carlton condo and offices at Logan Square.
NEWS
November 1, 2015 | By Tirdad Derakhshani, Inquirer Staff Writer
I offer greetings, gratitude, and a hearty salute to the makers of TNT's Legends , who have busted the espionage thriller wide open for its second season. Legends stars Sean Bean as a mysterious Jason Bourne-like figure who has two decades of experience as a covert operative but no clue to his real identity. Season Two premieres at 10 p.m. Monday. I liked it last year, and the first three episodes of the new season excite me. Viewers don't need to see the freshman season to enjoy the show, but it helps to know the basics.
NEWS
October 30, 2015 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
In a surprising turn, the lead investigator in the federal case against Chaka "Chip" Fattah Jr. testified Wednesday that he tipped off an Inquirer reporter in 2012 to FBI raids at Fattah's Ritz-Carlton condo and offices at Logan Square. Under questioning from prosecutors, FBI Special Agent Richard Haag said he contacted reporter Martha Woodall during the investigation to learn more about Fattah's work at a for-profit education firm. In exchange, he said, he gave Woodall limited information about the federal probe.
NEWS
October 30, 2015 | BY VALERIE RUSS, Daily News Staff Writer russv@phillynews.com, 215-854-5987
CHAKA FATTAH JR. said yesterday that he is thinking about seeking a mistrial in his federal trial on bank- and wire-fraud charges. That came hours after the lead FBI investigator in the case surprised a federal courtroom by testifying, from the witness stand, that he had leaked information on the raid on Fattah's Center City apartment to the Inquirer . Under questioning by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul L. Gray, FBI Special Agent Richard Haag...
NEWS
October 25, 2015 | By Mark Fazlollah, Inquirer Staff Writer
Federal prosecutors made a sharp turn Friday afternoon in the bank- and tax-fraud trial of Chaka "Chip" Fattah Jr., portraying him as a budding executive being groomed as the "right-hand man" of a Philadelphia School District contractor. Earlier in the week, government witnesses focused on his throwing huge Super Bowl parties, enjoying fancy clothes, and spending afternoons lounging on his couch, eating pizza and watching Law and Order . But on Friday, government witness Mattie Thompson told the jury of his managing school budgets, finances, grants, and banking for Delaware Valley High School Inc., a now-defunct for-profit network of schools for students with disciplinary problems.
NEWS
September 13, 2015 | By Justine McDaniel, Inquirer Staff Writer
A special team of FBI agents arrived in Chester on Friday evening to investigate the killing of a suspect during a raid by federal agents executing a warrant in a child pornography investigation early Friday, officials said. Such an investigation typically takes about two months, said a spokeswoman. As of 5 p.m. Friday, the FBI evidence response team was on the scene, and its shooting incident review team, an independent group of senior FBI agent-inspectors, had just arrived from Washington, she said.
NEWS
September 12, 2015 | By Chris Palmer and Jason Laughlin, Inquirer Staff Writers
An FBI public corruption probe that has entangled at least two cities in eastern Pennsylvania - and has Philadelphia ties - netted another conviction Thursday, when a contractor admitted trading campaign contributions for preferential treatment from the Allentown mayor. In a hearing in federal court in Philadelphia, Ramzi Haddad of Bethlehem acknowledged raising more than $21,000 this year for Ed Pawlowski's failed bid for the U.S. Senate after the mayor had agreed to intervene and help Haddad with building-inspection issues.
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