Three People Charged for Center City Attack

September 23, 2014 by

September 23, 2014: The District Attorney’s Office has approved arrest warrants in connection with the assault of a gay couple on the 1600 block of Chancellor Street in Philadelphia on September 11, 2014. The individuals to be charged are 24-year-old Philip Williams, 26-year-old Kevin Harrigan, and 24-year-old Katherine Knott. All three defendants are from Bucks County. Each will be charged with two (2) counts of Aggravated Assault, two (2) counts of Simple Assault, two (2) counts of Recklessly Endangering Another Person (REAP), and one (1) count of Criminal Conspiracy. Once charged the defendants will be arrested by police.

“I would like to thank the police for their thorough investigation and the public for the outpouring of information and tips in this case,” said District Attorney Seth Williams. “This vicious attack shocked the entire country. An assault on people because of their sexual orientation has no place in Philadelphia.”

Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Will Re-Try Gerald Gibson

September 19, 2014 by

September 19, 2014: Today, the Honorable Diana Anhalt declared a mistrial in the theft case against Gerald Gibson. Jurors were not able to reach a unanimous verdict on all charges against the former Philadelphia police officer. Those charges included Theft, Obstruction of the Administration of Law, and Receiving Stolen Property for a January 2013 incident that occurred while Gibson was on duty as a narcotics officer. On January 31, 2013, Gibson was recorded on video by Federal Agents taking currency from a staged vehicle.

“This is just a minor delay in seeking justice,” said ADA Douglas Rhoads. “The Commonwealth looks forward to re-trying this case as soon as possible.”

District Attorney Seth Williams Joins Prosecutors across the Country to Announce New Coalition to Curb Gun Violence

September 19, 2014 by

September 17, 2014:  In a groundbreaking effort to combat gun violence, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams joined prosecutors from across the United States to announce the formation of PROSECUTORS AGAINST GUN VIOLENCE, (PAGV), an independent, non-partisan coalition organized to identify and promote prosecutorial and policy solutions to the national public health and safety crisis of gun violence.

“It is a pleasure and an honor to be working with this group of prosecutors who have been dealing with similar issues of gun violence in their communities,” said District Attorney Seth Williams. “By collaborating, identifying best practices, and discussing research I am certain we will make a real difference in improving public safety not only here in Philadelphia, but also across the entire country.”

PAGV was formed and co-chaired by Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance. The group will convene the first-ever prosecutorial summit on gun violence prevention in Atlanta on October 21st and 22nd, focusing on best prosecutorial practices, gang violence reduction, illegal weapons trafficking, the nexus between domestic violence and gun violence, the link between mental health issues and gun violence, and other initiatives.  PAGV will announce additional summit details shortly.

“For prosecutors, gun violence is not a partisan issue,” said District Attorney Vance.  “It’s a public health and safety crisis that claims lives and destabilizes communities in every jurisdiction in America.  By coming together to share intelligence and advocate for pragmatic, non-partisan solutions, law enforcement officials can achieve lasting progress on gun violence.”

“Together, prosecutors across our nation can make a major impact on the gun violence afflicting our communities,” said City Attorney Feuer.  “Our members will draw from our colleagues’ most effective strategies and join forces to advance policies that can save lives.  Prosecutors have expertise and credibility that are hard to dismiss.”

The growing coalition includes prosecutors from Atlanta, Boston, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Charlotte, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Manhattan, Miami, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Portland, Queens, San Antonio, San Francisco, Seattle and Staten Island.

Social Security Employees Charged With Welfare Fraud Scheme

September 9, 2014 by

September 5, 2014:  Today, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office as a result of a joint investigation with the Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General and the United States Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General arrested five (5) people for a complex welfare, childcare, and medical benefits scheme.  31-year-old Sakeenah Belle, 31-year-old Chanae Thomas, 30-year-old Felicia Fernandez, 38-year-old Abigail Millian aka Abigail Puscama, and 30-year-old Shonda Wayman have been charged with Welfare Fraud, Forgery, Theft and other related crimes.  Altogether the five defendants received over $76,000 in SNAP, Subsidized Child Care and Medical Assistant benefits.

Sakeenah Belle, Chanae Thomas and Felicia Fernandez were all employed by the Social Security Administration (SSA), and are charged with under reporting their annual income in order to fraudulently qualify for food, child care and health benefits from the government.  Shonda Wayman and Abigail Millian were both employed at the Reading Rainbow Learning Center on North 3rd Street in Philadelphia, and they are charged with conspiring with Belle, Thomas and Fernandez in order to continue receiving those fraudulent benefits.

On March 6, 2012, the Social Security Administration (SSA) received a complaint alleging that SSA employee Sakeenah Belle was involved in the misuse of her computer and hard drive assigned to her by SSA.  Belle was accused of using her SSA computer to create fictitious Earnings and Leave Statements for herself, two other SSA employees, and two Philadelphia day care workers. It was alleged that the fictitious Earnings and Leave Statements created by Belle were being used to gain eligibility, or to remain eligible for Welfare Benefits, Medical Assistance Benefits and Subsidized Child Care Benefits.  SSA agents investigated the allegations and forwarded the information to the State Inspector General’s Office.  The Inspector General’s Office then referred the case the District Attorney’s Office.  Detectives from the DA’s Government Fraud Unit arrested the defendants this morning, and they are currently being processed by the Philadelphia Police Department.

 Total Benefits

  1. Based upon Sakeenah Belle’s submission of forged and altered Earnings and Leave Statements, her misstatements and concealments of material facts regarding her true and correct wages and access to Medical Assistance Benefits, it was determined that between March 1, 2009 and December 31, 2012 Sakeenah Bell fraudulently obtained $4,072.00 in SNAP Benefits and $2,805 in Subsidized Child Care (CCIS Benefits), a total of $6,877.00.  The Medical Assistance transcripts indicates for the period between March 1, 2009 and December 31, 2012 Sakeenah Belle obtained $32,219.00.
  2.  Based upon Chanae Thomas’ submission of forged and altered Earnings and Leave Statements, her misstatements and concealments of material facts to the Department of Public Welfare regarding her true and correct wages and her household composition, and family access to Medical Assistance Benefits from the SSA it was determined that between June 1, 2009 and October 20, 2012 Chanae Thomas fraudulently obtained $15,689.00 in Medical Assistance Benefits.
  3.  Based upon Felicia Fernandez’s submission of forged and altered Earnings and Leave Statements, her misstatements and concealment of Material Facts from the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare regarding her true and correct wages, regarding the status of her family health benefits from her employer the United States Social Security Administration it was determined that between October 1, 2009 and October 31, 2012 Felicia Fernandez fraudulently obtained $950.00 in SNAP benefits.  A review of the Medical Assistance Transcripts indicates that between October 1, 2009 and October 31, 2012 Fernandez obtained $6,292.00 in Medical Assistance Benefits.
  4.  Based upon Shonda Wayman’s submission of forged and altered paystubs from Reading Rainbow Learning Center and her submission of two letters which contained false wage and employment information and her misstatements and concealments of material facts from the Department of Public Welfare it was determined that between January 17, 2012 and January 13, 20013 Shonda Wayman fraudulently obtained $2,675.00 in SNAP Benefits.
  5.  Based upon Abigail Millian aka Abigail Puscama submission of forged and alter paystubs from Reading Rainbow Learning Center and her concealment of material facts and false statements from the Department of Public Welfare it was determined that between November 1, 2011 and October 31, 2012 Abigail Millian aka Abigail Puscama fraudulently obtained $4,073.00 in SNAP Benefits. 

 

55 Year Old Woman Charged with Insurance Fraud

August 15, 2014 by

August 11, 2014:  Philadelphia Insurance Fraud Unit (IFU) detectives began to investigate 55 year old Annette Shirley White after receiving a fraud referral from Met Life Insurance Company. On March 3, 2011, White applied for a homeowner’s policy with Met Life Insurance Company after her previous policy with Liberty Mutual was cancelled due to non-payment. During the application process, representatives from Met Life inquired whether White had ever had a policy cancelled due to non-payment or if she had filed any claims under her former policy during the last five years. White denied both questions; however, the investigation later revealed that White had not answered truthfully during her policy application.

The day prior to White’s Met Life Insurance Company policy inception, the City of Philadelphia Department of Licensures and Inspections received a complaint that stated that the rear wall of White’s property was collapsing and that cement blocks were falling to the ground.  Two days later, the Department of Licensures and Inspections issued a safety violation to White after a representative deemed the wall unsafe. On March 7, 2011, White filed a claim with Met Life Insurance Company alleging that the same wall had collapsed following a particularly heavy rainstorm. Met Life then hired an engineer who concluded that the wall had collapsed due to structural deterioration resulting from poor maintenance rather than because of a storm.

Based on the investigation, detectives concluded that White not only misrepresented herself during her policy application, but that she also filed a fraudulent claim in which she indicated that her wall had collapsed due to a storm rather than because of ongoing neglect. White was arrested on August 11, 2014 for Insurance Fraud (F-3), Insurance Fraud (M-2), Theft by Unlawful Taking, Theft by Deception, and Attempted Theft by Deception. She is next scheduled to appear in Philadelphia Municipal Court for a status listing on August 18, 2014.

This case is specially assigned to Detective David Fisher and ADA Vicki Markovitz of the Insurance Fraud Unit.

Bail Set at 2 (M) Million Dollars for Kenneth Todd

August 8, 2014 by

August 8, 2014: The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has charged 47 year old Kenneth Todd with Aggravated Assault, Robbery, Burglary, Criminal Trespass, Theft by Unlawful Taking, Theft Receiving Stolen Property (RSP), Unlawful Restraint, Simple Assault, and Recklessly Endangering Another Person for a violent home invasion/robbery on July 25, 2014. He is also facing Burglary, Criminal Trespass, Theft by Unlawful Taking, and Theft RSP charges for an incident that occurred on July 23, 2014. Both incidents took place on the 1300 block of Pine Street.

Todd was arraigned this afternoon, bail was set at 2 (m) million dollars, and his next court date is scheduled for August 26, 2014 in courtroom 903.

Cornelius Crawford and Jonathan Rosa to Face Additional Murder Charge

August 8, 2014 by

August 8, 2014: The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office will charge Cornelius Crawford and Jonathan Rosa each with an additional count of Murder after Keisha Williams passed away on Thursday night. Crawford and Rosa will now face four counts of Second Degree Murder and Conspiracy for the deaths of Keisha Williams and her three children; 15 year old Keiearra Williams, 10 year old Joseph Reed, and 7 year old Terrance Moore.

“My heart continues to break for the family and friends of Keisha, Keiearra, Joseph and Terrance,” said District Attorney Seth Williams. “The thoughts and prayers of my office continue to be with everyone affected by the senseless crimes that occurred on July 25th. I hope the knowledge that I am prosecuting these defendants to the fullest extent of the law will give the family some sense of justice during this time of unimaginable grief.”

Philadelphia Man Charged with Setting Vehicle on Fire and Filing False Insurance Claim

August 5, 2014 by

July 31, 2014: Philadelphia Insurance Fraud Unit (IFU) detectives began to investigate 42 year old Marc Smith after receiving a referral from Erie Insurance Company. On February 17, 2014, Philadelphia Police Department officers responded to the 8600 block of Krewstown Road where they found a 2009 Ford F-150 pick-up truck with smoke coming from the inside of the vehicle. The vehicle was then towed to the Philadelphia Auto Squad Headquarters and detectives contacted Marc Smith, the owner of the vehicle. Smith alleged that he had not seen the vehicle since he last parked it in his driveway and he later signed a vehicle theft report.

In spite of Smith’s allegations of theft, Philadelphia Fire Marshalls declared that the burned F-150 had been an arson. The car had a strong odor of gasoline and a trained arson detection canine gave multiple alerts that indicated that the fire had been intentional. Furthermore, Smith’s F-150 is equipped with a transponder ignition which would prohibit it from being started without the use of the correct key. Detectives then contacted investigators from Erie Insurance who alleged that Smith had participated in an examination under oath and had testified that his vehicle had been stolen. Investigators stated that the Ford F-150 had been declared a total loss and that Erie Insurance had issued over seventeen thousand dollars in payment for the vehicle.

Detectives also interviewed multiple witnesses who gave statements indicating that Smith had committed arson in order to receive insurance money for his the vehicle which he could no longer afford. Based on the Fire Marshall’s investigation, witness interviews and the fact that the car had been equipped with a transponder ignition, Smith was arrested for Arson, Causing or Risking Catastrophe, Criminal Mischief, Theft by Deception, Insurance Fraud, Perjury, Securing Execution, False Swearing and Unsworn Falsifying on July 31, 2014. He is next scheduled to appear in Philadelphia Municipal Court on August 8, 2014 for a status listing.

ADA Debra Naish and Detective Patrick Gleason of IFU are specially assigned to this case.

Man Charged with Fraudulent Homeowner’s Claim

August 5, 2014 by

July 29, 2014: The Philadelphia District Attorneys Insurance Fraud Unit (IFU) began to investigate Ross Forman after receiving a referral from Allstate Insurance Company alleging that Forman had altered receipts submitted as part of a homeowner’s claim. On February 5, 2014, Forman’s home was damaged during an ice storm and he subsequently filed a claim for reimbursement for work done on his security, electrical and plumbing systems. Allstate began to investigate Forman’s claim after reviewing the submitted receipts which appeared to have been altered. The investigation revealed that Forman changed both a receipt from Vector Security so that it read three hundred and ninety dollars opposed to ninety dollars and a plumbing receipt so that it read twenty-two hundred dollars opposed to twelve hundred dollars. Both Vector Security and the plumbing company provided detectives with copies of the original receipts which showed that Forman had defrauded Allstate Insurance Company of thirteen hundred dollars. Forman was arrested for Insurance Fraud and Theft by Deception on July 29, 2014. He is next scheduled to appear in Philadelphia Municipal Court on August 18, 2014 for a status listing.

ADA Dawn Holtz and Detective Robert DiFrancesco of IFU are specially assigned to this case.

Body Shop Owner Charged with Insurance Fraud

August 5, 2014 by

July 14, 2014: The Philadelphia District Attorneys Office has charged 34 year old Tomasz Stasiuk with Insurance Fraud and Theft by Deception. The DA’s Insurance Fraud Unit (IFU) detectives began to investigate Tomasz Stasiuk, the owner of Skyline Auto Collision, after receiving a referral from Progressive Insurance Company. On June 7, 2013, a Progressive insured had his 2005 BMW towed to Skyline Auto Collision after the vehicle had been involved in an accident. Skyline Auto Collision determined that the BMW needed the engine, headlights and carpeting to be replaced which would cost in excess of twelve thousand dollars. Upon later inspection, Stasiuk further alleged that the car would also need new seat motors, airbags, a wiring harness and transmission which changed the estimate to over fourteen thousand dollars – an amount greater than the total value of the vehicle itself. Progressive then attempted to retrieve the motor that Stasiuk allegedly put into the BMW after the first repair so that they could return the parts but were unsuccessful. The vehicle was then removed from Skyline Auto Collision and later inspected by NICB agents who determined that neither the engine, carpeting nor headlights had been replaced with new products in spite of the fact that Progressive had paid Stasiuk over fifteen thousand dollars in settlement checks for these repairs. Stasiuk was arrested on July 14, 2014 for Insurance Fraud and Theft by Deception. He is next scheduled to appear in Philadelphia Municipal Court on July 21, 2014 for a status listing.

Detective Robert DiFrancesco and ADA Dawn Farrell are specially assigned to this case.


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