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Woman with Extensive Claim History Charged with Fraudulent Injury Lawsuit Against SEPTA

March 19, 2014

March 12, 2014:  The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has charged 56 year old Sandra McCrea with Insurance Fraud and Attempted Theft by Deception.

Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit (IFU) detectives began to investigate Sandra McCrea after receiving a fraud referral from SEPTA. On August 29, 2011, McCrea was a passenger on the SEPTA Route XH bus which was stopped at the intersection of Greene Street and School House Lane in Philadelphia when a truck struck the driver’s side mirror of the bus and then continued en route. The Route XH operator appraised the damage and indicated on her report that the bus had only suffered minor scratches to the driver’s side mirror frame. The operator further reported that none of the passengers present on the bus appeared or claimed to be injured. Neither police nor paramedics responded to this incident.

Despite the initial lack of reported injuries, SEPTA received notification that McCrea retained counsel to represent her in a personal injury claim against SEPTA. McCrea’s counsel alleged that she had suffered injuries to her right shoulder, right knee and lower back as a result of this incident. Detectives retrieved McCrea’s medical records which indicate that she sought physical therapy on twenty occasions between September and November of 2011 for injuries to her back, knee and shoulder. McCrea’s alleged injuries are further described on her SEPTA incident card where she wrote that she had been thrown up and back in her seat and hit her knee on a pole. Surveillance footage from the Route XH bus contradicts McCrea’s claim and establishes that although a white truck did make contact with the exterior mirror of the bus, none of the twenty-one passengers appeared to be injured or disturbed in anyway.

When filing this fraudulent personal injury claim with SEPTA, McCrea initially provided a fraudulent name and false biographical information in order to conceal her extensive claims history. McCrea formerly filed over ten personal injury claims against SEPTA which cost the company over one hundred thousand dollars to settle. Based on video footage and witness interviews, McCrea was arrested for Attempted Theft by Deception and Insurance Fraud on March 11, 2014. She is next scheduled to appear in Philadelphia Municipal Court for a status listing on March 21, 2014.

ADA Debra Naish and Detective Donald Murtha of IFU are specially assigned to this case.

Fraud Arrest for 2010 “Fake” Injury Claim

March 19, 2014

March 10, 2014:  Detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit (IFU) investigated Barry Butler after receiving a referral from SEPTA. On October 20, 2010, the SEPTA route 23 bus was stopped at the intersection of Germantown and Glenwood Avenues where it was discharging passengers. While the bus was stopped, a red van pulled in front of the bus and blocked it from resuming its route. The driver of the red van reported that the route 23 bus had struck and damaged his driver’s side mirror as the two vehicles passed each other while traveling in opposite directions on Germantown Avenue. The operator of the Route 23 bus did not believe he ever made contact with the red van. The red van’s mirror appeared to be cracked, but the bus had no damage. Despite the driver’s lack of perceived contact, SEPTA’s rules of operation required that he hand out incident forms to the passengers on the bus at the time of the alleged incident. The operator stated that no passengers reported being injured.

Butler subsequently retained counsel to file a claim against SEPTA for personal injuries which he claimed he sustained while he was a passenger on the route 23 bus. Butler’s counsel alleged that Butler injured his neck, head, back and both knees as a result of this incident. Butler’s counsel submitted medical bills in excess of sixteen thousand dollars for treatment allegedly resulting from this incident. SEPTA denied Butler’s claim on the basis of surveillance footage.

IFU detectives reviewed video surveillance footage from the route 23 bus that was recorded at the time of the incident. The video footage shows the red van pulling in front of the bus as well as the moment when the two vehicles pass each other on Germantown Avenue. The detectives could not determine whether there had been contact between the two vehicles.  However, the video shows that the bus never made any sudden or unusual movements; it did not jerk, swerve or suddenly slow down and no passengers seem to be affected throughout the course of the video.

 Barry Butler was arrested for Insurance Fraud and Attempted Theft by Deception on March 10, 2014. He is next listed for a status hearing on March 14, 2014 in Philadelphia Municipal Court.

ADA Dawn Farrell and Detective Karl Supperer of IFU are specially assigned to this case.

Fraud Arrest for Fraudulent SEPTA Injury Lawsuit

March 19, 2014

March 5, 2014:  51 year old Vincent Burton is facing Insurance Fraud and Attempted Theft by Deception Charges.

Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit (IFU) detectives began to investigate Vincent Burton for insurance fraud after receiving a fraud referral from SEPTA. On August 29, 2011, Burton was a passenger on the SEPTA Route XH bus which was stopped at the intersection of Greene Street and School House Lane in Philadelphia when a truck struck the driver’s side mirror of the bus and then continued en route. The Route XH operator appraised the damage and indicated on her report that the bus had only suffered minor scratches to the driver’s side mirror frame. The operator further reported that none of the passengers present on the bus appeared or claimed to be injured. Neither police nor paramedics responded to this incident.

Despite the initial lack of reported injuries, SEPTA received notification that Burton had retained private counsel to represent him in a personal injury claim. Burton’s counsel alleged that Burton had been a passenger on the Route XH bus on the date of the incident and had injured his back upon the supposed impact. Burton sought medical treatment on more than twenty-five occasions between August of 2011 and January of 2012. Burton reported to his doctor that he suffered injuries to his neck, shoulder and lower back after the bus was sideswiped by a car. Medical records indicate that Burton described his pain as aching, miserable and constant and that his bills for treatment exceeded seventy-nine hundred dollars.  Burton’s counsel demanded that SEPTA issue payments of five thousand dollars for medical bills and sixteen thousand dollars for pain and suffering. SEPTA denied Burton’s claim on the basis of surveillance footage from the SEPTA Route XH bus.

 Surveillance footage from the Route XH bus established that although a white truck did make contact with the exterior mirror of the bus, none of the twenty-one passengers appeared to be injured or disturbed in any way. Based on video footage and witness interviews, Burton was arrested for Attempted Theft by Deception and Insurance Fraud on March 4, 2014. He is next scheduled to appear in Philadelphia Municipal Court for a status listing on March 10, 2014.

ADA Debra Naish and Detective Donald Murtha of the IFU are specially assigned to this case.

Officer Corcoran Charged with False Imprisonment

March 12, 2014
March 12, 2014:  The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office charged Philadelphia Police Officer Kevin Corcoran with False Imprisonment, Obstructing Administration of Law, and Official Oppression for an incident that occurred in March of 2013.  The charges against Officer Corcoran are the result of a joint investigation by the Philadelphia Police Internal Affairs Department (IAD) and the District Attorney’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU).

On March 31, 2013 around 2:00AM, P/O Kevin Corcoran was on duty near   13th and Lombard Streets, when he encountered a group of people on   the sidewalk.  It was at this point   that one of the members of the group commented that P/O Corcoran had made an   illegal turn. P/O Corcoran then drove up next to the group, and in his police   uniform exited the patrol vehicle and began yelling at the group. Multiple   witnesses then began videotaping the incident on their cell phones.  P/O Corcoran proceeded to slap the   cellphone out of one of the group member’s hands and then confronted the   young man stating, “Don’t f##?!g touch me.” P/O Corcoran continued to walk   toward the young man who was backing up with his hands out in front of him   making no contact with the officer.    P/O Corcoran then pushed the young man, grabbed him by the chest,   threw him against the side of his police vehicle, handcuffed him and threw   him into the back of his vehicle.  P/O   Corcoran then sped off with the victim in the back seat.  The entire incident was caught on   videotape.

P/O Corcoran then drove the victim to an unknown street off of north   Broad St.  On the way, the victim asked   why he was being arrested, and P/O Corcoran claimed it was for public   intoxication.  P/O Corcoran did not   prepare any of the required police paperwork for a public intoxication   arrest, had no evidence that the victim was intoxicated, and was in fact   driving in the opposite direction of the 17th Police District   where P/O Corcoran was assigned.  It   was at this time that the victim told P/O Corcoran that he had never been   arrested before and was an Operation Iraqi Freedom war veteran.  After hearing this information, P/O Corcoran returned back to the area of 13th and Rodman Streets,   uncuffed the victim, and released him without charges.  The entire incident took approximately 16   minutes.

Officer Kevin Corcoran turned himself into Internal Affairs this   morning and is currently being processed by police.  ADA Michael Bonner of SIU is specially   assigned to this case.

Officer Lupo Charged with Perjury

March 7, 2014

March 7, 2014: Today, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office charged Philadelphia Police Officer Steven Lupo with Perjury, False Swearing in Official Matters, Unsworn Falsification, False Reports to Law Enforcement and Obstructing Administration of Law.  Officer Lupo’s arrest comes as the result of investigations by Police Internal Affairs, the DA’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU), and lengthy Grand Jury proceedings.

The investigation into Police Officer (P/O) Lupo begin after a complaint was made to Internal Affairs Detectives about P/O Lupo’s testimony in court on October 18, 2011.  It was alleged that P/O Lupo, who was assigned to the 14thPolice District, testified falsely during a hearing about the circumstances surrounding the arrest of Amiraria Farsi on August 5, 2011.  During the course of that investigation, Internal Affairs Detectives also found evidence that P/O Lupo testified falsely about the circumstances surrounding the arrest of Joseph Tuamba on September 25, 2010.

In both arrests P/O Lupo testified in front of Municipal Court Judges at preliminary hearings about the facts in those cases, and it was determined that he gave testimony that was false during those hearings.

In the September 25, 2010 case of Joseph Tuamba, P/O Lupo was on the 100 block of East Chelten Avenue when he and his partner encountered a 2010 Lincoln SKS parked outside a Chinese store.  The officers ultimately arrested the car’s occupants, Joseph Tuamba and Angel Huffman, and charged them with possession of narcotics.  In his testimony, P/O Lupo explained that he could not tell if the car was unoccupied because of the dark tint of the windows, but because the patrol car window was open, he could hear that the car was running.  P/O Lupo maintained that he got out of his patrol car to get a closer look inside it, and as he approached the driver’s side of the vehicle he could smell what he believed was marijuana coming from its interior as Mr. Tuamba emerged from the vehicle.

Three witnesses testified on behalf of Mr. Tuamba at the preliminary hearing.  The first witness, who drove Mr. Tuamba’s vehicle from the scene that night, testified that the vehicle’s windows were not tinted.  The second witness, Mr. Tuamba’s friend who rented the vehicle from Avis Rent-a-Car, testified that at the time she rented it on September 24, 2010, the car did not have any tinted windows.  Finally, an agency operator for Avis Rent-a-Car on September 24, 2010, testified that at the time he rented the vehicle to Ms. Morrow it did not have any tinted windows.  He also testified that when the car was returned to Avis, its windows were not tinted.

The investigation also revealed that P/O Lupo gave false testimony about another arrest that occurred in 2011. On August 5, 2011, P/O Lupo and his partner conducted a vehicle stop of a 1998 Buick Regal driven by Amiraria Farsi, near Baynton and High Streets, after the vehicle failed to stop at a stop sign.  The officers approached the car and saw three males inside – Mr. Farsi and two unnamed males.   When the officers approached they noted a “huge odor of marijuana” emanating from the front sides and trunk area of the vehicle.  First, P/O Lupo removed the rear passenger from the car and frisked him, and then placed the male back in the car.  P/O Lupo approached Mr. Farsi, frisked him and recovered narcotics from his right front pocket.  P/O Lupo also recovered money from Mr. Farsi’s pockets.  Because of the odor of marijuana, the officers requested that a K9 dog be brought to the scene to determine if the dog would “hit on the car for narcotics.”  P/O Lupo also stated that he waited for a search warrant before searching the vehicle, which included going through the vehicle’s trunk.  A videotape from a surveillance camera at the scene showed that P/O Lupo’s account was false and that he searched the inside and trunk of the vehicle before the K9 unit arrived and before the search warrant was approved.

SIU is currently working on when Officer Lupo will surrender himself to authorities.

Four Men Charged with Attempted Murder After Tyring to Intimidate a Witness

February 26, 2014

 A nearly two (2) year joint investigation by the Special Investigations Unit of the District Attorney’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Philadelphia Police Department, and the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania led to the arrests of four individuals for their roles in a plot to intimidate and shoot a witness.

Today, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office charged 35-year-old Charles Alexander, 42-year-old Troy Cooper, 37-year-old Aki Jones, and 21-year-old Shaheed Williams with Attempted Murder, Witness Intimidation, Aggravated Assault, and Conspiracy.

On November 22, 2010, gunfire erupted on Turner Street following an altercation among several women.  A witness to the shooting called 9-1-1 to report what he saw.  As a result, police arrested Aki Jones for his involvement in the altercation and charged him with firearm and related offenses.

On the day of trial, September 26, 2011, the witness was shot several times at close range while exiting his house in the morning.  The shooter, Shaheed Williams, is an associate of Aki Jones.  Williams first pointed the gun at the witness’ head and fired, striking a hand that covered his head.  Another two shots were fired at the witness as he fled, knocking him down.  Williams caught up to his target and said: “You won’t talk no more.”  He fired the final shot “execution style.”  That shot struck the neck, but, miraculously missed the spinal cord.  Williams’ target survived this brutal shooting.

A joint investigation by an ATF Task Force, the Philadelphia Police Department, and the Special Investigations Unit of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office uncovered the detailed plan of Aki Jones and his associates to prevent the witness from testifying against Jones.  The plan that ended in this shooting, began when the conspirators, including other associates of Aki Jones – Charles Alexander and Troy Cooper – arranged to bribe the witness with $500 in exchange for not testifying against Jones.  When the witness did not accept the offer, he was shot the next day.

Aki Jones and Shaheed Williams are currently incarcerated on unrelated cases.  Charles Alexander and Troy Cooper were arrested by ATF agents this morning and are currently being processed by the Philadelphia Police Department.

“I first want to applaud the victim in this case,” said District Attorney Seth Williams.  “At a time when too many witness are afraid to go to court because they are intimidated by thugs like these defendants, this victim heroically came forward despite being shot and made sure that justice was not denied.”

“We need to bring an end to the anti-snitching culture that is so pervasive in some of our communities,” added ATF Special Agent in Charge Sam Rabadi. “Gun-toting law breakers who try to silence and intimidate witnesses from coming forward continue to pose a huge threat to the citizens of our city.  The charges and arrests today sends a strong message to criminals that our brave neighborhood residents who do come forward will be heard – loud and clear. If you attempt to intimidate or retaliate against a witness, you will be identified, arrested, and prosecuted to the maximum extent of the law.”

The case is assigned to Assistant District Attorney Douglas Rhoads of the Special Investigations Unit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shelton Thomas Charged with Stealing Thousands from Elderly Man While Posing as the District Attorney

February 24, 2014

February 24,2013: The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has charged 47-year-old Shelton Thomas with Robbery, Burglary, Dealing in Proceeds, Criminal Trespass, Theft by Unlawful Taking, Theft by Deception, Theft by Extortion, Theft Receiving Stolen Property, Identity Theft, Use of a Communication Facility and Impersonating a Public Servant after he stole over $95,000 from an elderly man while posing as District Attorney Seth Williams.

For the past three years the defendant scammed at least $95,000 from 93-year-old Raymond Campbell.  Mr. Campbell had hired the defendant to cut his grass, and in June of 2011 the defendant claimed he was arrested for dumping the grass clippings in an unauthorized dumpster.  He then told Mr. Campbell that he had to pay court costs and fees associated with the arrest.  The scam then escalated to the defendant posing as District Attorney Seth Williams, and also using the names of various judges to convince Mr. Campbell to continue giving money to the defendant.  Mr. Campbell’s family tried to convince him that it was a scam but continued to give money to the defendant until last week when the District Attorney personally told Mr. Campbell it was a scam.

It is believed that Mr. Campbell, a WWII vet who has been in the same house for over 60 years, and lives on a modest pension from his over 40 years as a government employee, actually gave over $100,000 to the defendant; though the exact amount is likely much higher.

“This defendant is the lowest of the low,” said District Attorney Seth Williams.  “There are no words to describe the type of person who would steal from someone who’s only short coming is that he is too trusting.  Mr. Campbell fought for our country in World War II, and how is he repaid for that heroic service?  He is scammed out of nearly a hundred thousand dollars by this scumbag Shelton Thomas.”

Shelton Thomas was arrested and arraigned on Friday evening, bail was set at $750,000 and his next court appearance is scheduled for March 7, 2014 in courtroom 703 at the CJC.

The District Attorney’s Office encourages anyone who believes they are the victim, or have an elderly family member who maybe the victim of a scam to call the Philadelphia Police Department SVU at 215-685-3251, the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging at 215-765-9040 or email the District Attorney’s Office at justice@phila.gov.

 

 

 

Election Day Arrest

February 20, 2014

February 20, 2014: The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has charged 65-year-old Dianah Gregory with Fraud by Election Officers, Tampering with Records, Criminal Mischief, and Tampering with Voting Machines for her actions during the November 5, 2013 election.

The investigation into Dianah Gregory began when the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office received a complaint on Election Day at the Ethel Allen School polling site located at 31st & Lehigh Avenue.  On location, a candidate for “Judge of Election,” William Thompson, explained that a voter left the polling site visibly upset after Dianah Gregory reportedly entered the voting booth and attempted to make a “write in” vote on the voter’s behalf.

The voting booth was then examined as part of the investigation.  The detective observed the name “Dianah Gregory” was written in marker on the voting booth.  The name was scrawled next to the button to select a “write in” candidate.  Still on location, Dianah Gregory admitted that she wrote her name on the voting machines, as she explained, for voters to know how to spell her name.

Dianah Gregory surrendered to SIU Detectives this morning and is currently being processed by police.  ADA Douglas Rhoads and Detective Stan Sheppard of the District Attorney’s Special Investigations Unit are specially assigned to this case.  ADA Linda Montag and ADA Rachel Pereira investigated the Election Day complaint.

 

 

 

 

 

Woman Convicted of Murdering Her Own Mother

February 19, 2014

February 19, 2014: The Honorable Steven R. Geroff today found 35-year-old Jahina Damon guilty but mentally ill of First Degree Murder, Attempted Murder, and other related charges for the 2007 death of Damon’s mother.

On December 20, 2007, Jahina Damon killed her mother by shooting her, dousing her with gasoline, and then setting her on fire inside a home on the 6000 block of  Cobbs Creek Parkway.  Another woman was badly burned in the resulting house fire, but survived.

The defendant presented an insanity defense at a bench trial before Judge Geroff, and he found the defendant guilty but mentally ill.  Jahina Damon is scheduled to be sentencing on May 13, 2014 in Room 707 at the CJC.  Assistant District Attorney Thomas H. Lipscomb successfully prosecuted this case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tax Fraud Ring

February 12, 2014

February 12, 2014: After a two year investigation, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Special Investigations Unit (SIU) along with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General busted a tax fraud enterprise that has operated for several years and stolen thousands of dollars of taxpayer money.

The ringleader, 38 year old Kenneth Davidson, is a corrections officer at SCI Graterford who moonlighted as a part-time, seasonal tax professional at H&R Block.  Unbeknownst to H&R Block, Davidson used his position to file fraudulent tax returns and obtain multiple refunds worth thousands of dollars.  Davidson would rely on his co-conspirators Yvonne Williams, Ahmad Gray, and Cardell Jackson to provide names, dates of birth, and social security numbers of stolen identities or friends. Herbert Carter was one such friend who provided his information.  An intermediary would create fraudulent W-2 forms that Davidson would use to file the bogus tax returns and obtain tax refunds that were transferred to H&R Block Emerald debit cards or other pre-paid cards. Each member of this fraud ring would then take a cut of the refund as payment for his/her part in the scheme.

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has charged Kenneth Davidson with 104 felony counts including Corrupt Organization, Dealing in Proceeds of Unlawful Activities, Forgery, and Theft and also several misdemeanors.  He was arrested and arraigned and his next court date is scheduled for February 14, 2014 in courtroom 406.

Arrangements are being made for the surrender of the other co-defendants who include:

  • Yvonne Williams who is charged with 63 felony counts including Corrupt Organization, Dealing in Proceeds of Unlawful Activities, Forgery, and Theft and also several misdemeanors.
  • Ahmad Gray who is charged with 29 felony counts including Corrupt Organization, Dealing in Proceeds of Unlawful Activities, Forgery, and Theft and also several misdemeanors.
  • Cardell Jackson who is charged with 25 felony counts including Corrupt Organization, Dealing in Proceeds of Unlawful Activities, Forgery, and Theft and also several misdemeanors.
  • Herbert Carter who is charged with 8 felony counts including Dealing in Proceeds of Unlawful Activities, Forgery, and Theft and also several misdemeanors.

The District Attorney’s Office would like to thank H&R Block for its support in investigating this tax fraud scheme.  This case is being prosecuted by ADA Michael J. Bonner and DA Investigator Kristina Crosby.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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