June 5, 2016
A 36-year-old Atlantic County woman was sentenced Friday in federal court in Camden to six years in prison for scamming owners of timeshares in a $3 million scheme, prosecutors said. Ashley Lacerda of Egg Harbor Township was convicted of one count of mail fraud and four counts of wire fraud in 2013 along with three other codefendants, including her husband, Adam, 32. Prosecutors said Adam Lacerda founded a company in Mays Landing, Vacation Ownership Group L.L.C., that offered fraudulent consulting services to hundreds of timeshare owners.
June 5, 2016 |
A former congressman, a parade of government staffers, and even a hotel doorman cycled through the witness stand Friday as the defense case began in the federal corruption trial of U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.) and four codefendants. Lawyers for the accused hoped each could put a little polish back on their clients' reputations after three weeks of tarnishing government testimony. But prosecutors showed little patience for the pursuit. Asked if she had an opinion of Fattah's character, Elizabeth King, Fattah's former legislative director, eagerly replied: "I absolutely do. "He is a truthful person who does good things for the right reasons," she said.
May 15, 2016 |
TRENTON - A federal judge on Friday denied a request from an unindicted accomplice in the George Washington Bridge lane-closure case to block prosecutors from disclosing the individual's identity to the news media. U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton did, however, extend to Tuesday a deadline for prosecutors to make public a list of individuals they say joined the alleged criminal conspiracy but whom the government has not charged. In the interim, the "unindicted coconspirator," identified in court papers as John Doe, appealed the judge's decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia.
May 1, 2016 |
John H. Estey, a former top aide to Gov. Ed Rendell and a prominent player in city and state politics, will plead guilty to wire fraud, his lawyer and federal prosecutors said Friday, the latest turn in a pay-to-play corruption probe that already snared Pennsylvania's former treasurer. According to people familiar with the case, Estey has been secretly cooperating with investigators, possibly for years. He was caught in 2011 in an FBI sting by agents posing as businessmen seeking his influence with state legislators, according to court filings in Harrisburg.
April 21, 2016
A Philadelphia woman was indicted Tuesday on charges of stealing more than $102,000 in Social Security benefits paid to her grandmother after her death. A federal grand jury found that 47-year-old Martha Stanley took her grandmother's Social Security payments for nearly nine years after her death. Stanley had lived with her grandmother, identified in the indictment only as M.S., until she died in June 2005. Social Security payments continued to be deposited in M.S.'s bank account until March 2014, and were withdrawn by Stanley, the indictment alleges.
November 7, 2015 |
They calmly sat in the second row of Courtroom 12A on Thursday, while the 90-minute PowerPoint presentation from hell was played. As gruesome details of the Tacony dungeon master's scheme were retold, some in the packed room sobbed. But the four victims of Linda Weston who were there were stoic. The hearing to sentence Weston, who enslaved and tortured disabled adults so she could steal their benefits checks, was a formality. She pleaded guilty to 196 federal counts in September and accepted a prison term of life plus 80 years.
September 26, 2015 |
The U.S. Attorney in Philadelphia charged a former lighting manager at QVC Inc., the West Chester-based TV and online shopping network, with orchestrating an alleged $1.8 million fake-invoice scam. Douglas S. Rae, 58, of Bethlehem, could face 20 years in prison, an $8.75 million fine, and payment of full restitution on charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and money laundering, federal prosecutors said in documents filed last week. Rae submitted $900,000 in fake invoices directly to QVC through two companies he controlled, Lighting Equipment Sales & Service Inc. and Lighting Products International Inc., according to the indictment.
September 26, 2015 |
The U.S. Attorney in Philadelphia charged a former lighting manager at QVC Inc., the West Chester-based TV and online shopping network, for allegedly orchestrating the submission of $1.8 million in bogus invoices between 2006 and 2013. Douglas S. Rae, a 58-year-old Bethlehem man, faces 20 years in prison, an $8.75 million fine and paying full restitutiton on charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering, federal prosecutors say in court documets filed last week.
September 11, 2015 |
OH, THIS GUY AGAIN. Leaford George Cameron, a wannabe lawyer who looks more like a crazed hypnotist, made news in 2013 when he was arrested by Delaware County authorities for allegedly impersonating an attorney. When detectives asked whether he was licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, "his reply was that he should be," according to the criminal complaint. Now, Cameron is in even bigger trouble. U.S. Attorney Zane Memeger announced yesterday that Cameron, 62, of Burlington, N.J., has been indicted for mail fraud, wire fraud and false statements.
July 31, 2015 |
Federal prosecutors on Wednesday accused U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah of using his campaign coffers, charities he created, and federal grant funds he controlled to bankroll a failed 2007 Philadelphia mayoral bid, and line the pockets of family members and close political allies. The 11-term Democratic congressman, who holds a seat on the powerful Appropriations Committee, was charged in a 29-count racketeering conspiracy indictment that alleges he channeled hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay off an illegal $1 million campaign loan as well as the college debts of son Chaka "Chip" Fattah Jr. In addition, federal authorities said, Fattah, 58, accepted bribes including stacks of cash, payments toward a Poconos vacation home, and college tuition for an au pair from a lobbyist seeking his help to land an ambassadorship with the Obama White House.