Philadelphia – Detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit investigated Sherida Archie after receiving a referral from Repwest Insurance Company. On August 1, 2014, a Repwest insured U-Haul truck struck a parked 2002 Mercedes Benz. Detectives retrieved the Philadelphia Police Department Accident Report which stated that the U-Haul had been traveling southbound when it struck the driver’s side of the Mercedes Benz and imploded the front tire and left multiple scratches on the driver’s side. However, the Repwest insurance file indicated that the driver of the U-Haul truck told Repwest that he did not cause any damage to the driver side of the Mercedes Benz during the accident beyond striking the tire. Rather, the driver stated that the scratches to the Benz were preexisting. Repwest investigators later learned that the Hartford Insurance Company had paid Sherida Archie three thousand dollars for identical damages to the Mercedes Benz in July of 2013 for a previous accident. Archie then reported the same damages to the Philadelphia Police and Repwest Insurance Company in August of 2014 in an attempt to receive a double payment for these same damages. Archie was arrested on April 6, 2015 for Insurance Fraud, Attempted Theft by Deception and False Reports. She is next scheduled to appear in Philadelphia Municipal Court on April 13, 2015 for a status listing.
Philadelphia – Detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit investigated Frank Hinton after receiving a referral from SEPTA. On January 7, 2013, Hinton was a passenger on the SEPTA Route 2 bus when the vehicle had a minor collision with a parked 2000 Mercedes Benz. Hinton then retained counsel to file a personal injury claim against SEPTA and Liberty Mutual on his behalf. Hinton claimed that the accident had caused him to suffer injuries to his right hip, right knee, headaches, neck, shoulders wrist and back and that he therefore incurred medical bills in excess of nine thousand dollars. The investigation revealed that the slight collision could not have harmed Hinton. Detectives interviewed the operator of the Route 2 bus who stated that as he was driving the bus, the operator of a Liberty Mutual insured Mercedes Benz opened the driver’s side door of his parked vehicle and made contact with the bus. The bus had dents on the rear top and bottom right side panels; however, no injuries were reported by any of the five passengers on the bus. Detectives retrieved a SEPTA incident card which Hinton filled out in connection to this accident which read that the bus had swerved and he was subsequently thrown to the floor. Digital surveillance footage from the SEPTA Route 2 bus showed that Hinton was never thrown to the ground nor did he appear to be disturbed. Hinton was arrested on April 6, 2015 for Insurance Fraud and Attempted Theft by Deception. He is next scheduled to appear in Philadelphia Municipal Court for a status listing on April 13, 2015.
Philadelphia – Detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit investigated Marialana Cini after receiving a referral from Sedgwick Claims Management, which is the third party administrator for Save A Lot supermarkets. On October 25, 2012, Cini was shopping at the Save A Lot supermarket on the twenty-one hundred block of Lehigh Avenue in Philadelphia. Cini alleged that she slipped on a puddle of water near a meat case in the back of the store and consequently fell and injured her back and leg. Cini retained counsel to represent her in a personal injury lawsuit against the Save A Lot. Detectives reviewed the Save A Lot Customer Statement that Cini had filled out and the form indicated that while she was shopping in the store, Cini slipped and hurt herself on water leaking from a freezer case. Medical records state that Cini alleged that she twisted her back, neck and knee as a result of this fall. Detectives then retrieved the surveillance footage from the Save A Lot which shows that Cini was not injured while shopping in the store. The video shows Cini walking past a refrigerated meat case while headed towards the refrigeration box where the milk is kept. Cini paused in front of the meat case and looked at the floor. After picking up milk, Cini then went to the front of the store and spoke to an assistant manager. She then returned to the spill and took photographs with her cell phone before the manager met her at the area of the alleged incident. Cini then filled out a claims form and exited the store. At no point did surveillance footage show Cini slipping or falling. Detectives arrested Cini for Insurance Fraud and Attempted Theft by Deception on April 10, 2015. She is next scheduled to appear for a status listing on April 17, 2015 in Philadelphia Municipal Court.
WOMAN REGISTERS VOLVO WITH FRAUDULENT STATE FARM INSURANCE COMPANY FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IDENTIFICATION CARDMarch 27, 2015
Philadelphia –Detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit investigated Tatalea Chestnut after receiving a referral from State Farm Insurance Company. Detectives were contacted from a representative from State Farm Insurance Company who produced a fraudulent financial responsibility identification card allegedly insuring Tatalea Chestnut and her 2000 Volvo. The State Farm representative stated that the listed policy number on the card was not valid. Detectives retrieved the title history of the 2000 Volvo and learned that Chestnut had registered the vehicle on December 18, 2014 with the above referenced bogus State Farm financial responsibility identification card. Chestnut was arrested for Forgery and Insurance Fraud on March 25, 2015. She is next listed in Philadelphia Municipal Court for a status listing on March 30, 2015.
AFTER REVIEW OF EVIDENCE, PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY WILLIAMS DETERMINES CRIMINAL CHARGES CANNOT BE FILED IN THE SHOOTING DEATH OF BRANDON TATE-BROWNMarch 19, 2015
PHILADELPHIA (March 19, 2015) – Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams today announced that after an extensive review of the evidence – including video, forensics and statements from both Philadelphia Police Officers and independent witnesses – he cannot file charges against the Philadelphia Police Officers involved in the shooting death of Brandon Tate-Brown.
“The loss of any life is sad, but it’s heartbreaking when a mother has to bury a child,” said District Attorney Williams. “My team and I have spent hours reviewing statements from multiple witnesses and Philadelphia Police Officers, video from three different locations, DNA and ballistic information, the actions of Philadelphia Police Officers and Mr. Tate-Brown, and extensive physical evidence. All the evidence indicates that Mr. Tate-Brown, after repeatedly struggling with officers, appeared to be reaching for an illegal handgun at the time he was shot.”
District Attorney Williams was joined by civic and religious leaders and elected officials for the announcement.
Earlier in the week, District Attorney Williams met with more than 20 religious and community leaders to present an overview of the evidence (i.e. video, forensic and officer and witness testimony). And last month, District Attorney Williams spoke with the mother of Brandon Tate-Brown to offer his condolences.
The standard that the Philadelphia District Attorney must employ to determine whether a Police Officer used or did not use the appropriate level of force is mandated by the Pennsylvania Crimes Code (18 Pa.C.S. § 508 – Use of Force in Law Enforcement). That standard provides for the use of deadly force if the officer reasonably believes that it is necessary to prevent the use of deadly force against himself or others. In this case, the officer’s actions were not in violation of the crimes code.
Some of the questions that were answered during the investigation include:
QUESTION: Did anyone see Brandon Tate-Brown’s gun?
EVIDENCE: Both officers promptly reported to others that a gun had been seen in the car during the traffic stop. The gun was photographed and recovered from the car immediately after the shooting.
QUESTION: Was the gun Brandon Tate-Brown’s and could it have been left in the rental car from the previous renter?
EVIDENCE: Brandon Tate-Brown’s DNA was on the gun.
QUESTION: Was Brandon Tate-Brown shot from behind after trying to run away?
EVIDENCE: Numerous independent eyewitnesses confirmed statements by police officers that Brandon Tate-Brown was not trying to run away but instead tried to re-enter the passenger side of his car where the gun was located.
Philadelphia – Detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit investigated Deborah Vega after receiving a referral from SEPTA. On November 13, 2012, Vega was a passenger on the SEPTA Route 5 bus when the vehicle had a minor collision with a parked 2002 Honda Odyssey. Vega then retained counsel to file a personal injury claim on her behalf. Vega claimed that the accident had caused her to suffer injuries to her back and legs and that she therefore incurred medical bills in excess of twelve thousand dollars. Vega had previously filed personal injury claims against SEPTA on two other separate occasions and had received settlements of eight thousand five hundred and five thousand dollars.
The investigation revealed that the slight collision could not have harmed Vega. Detectives interviewed the operator of the Route 5 bus who stated that as he was slowly driving the bus he made light contact with the exterior side mirror of a parked Honda Odyssey. The operator stated that he reported the incident to his supervisor and then continued with his route. Digital surveillance footage from the SEPTA Route 5 bus showed that after the bus made contact with the Honda, the operator brought the bus to a controlled stop. None of the nine passengers, including Vega, appeared to be disturbed. Further footage from the vehicle shows Vega moving about the bus with no evidence of any distress. Vega was arrested on March 12, 2015 for Insurance Fraud and Theft by Deception. She is next scheduled for a status listing on March 17, 2015 in Philadelphia Municipal Court.
Philadelphia District Attorney Charges Two Current and One Former PA State Representative with Bribery, Conspiracy and Other CrimesMarch 10, 2015
PHILADELPHIA (March 10, 2015) – Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams today charged Pennsylvania State Representatives Louise Williams Bishop and Michelle Brownlee and former Pennsylvania State Representative Harold James with Criminal Conspiracy, Bribery in Official and Political Matters, Conflict of Interest, and Failure to Make Required Disclosures in Statement of Financial Interests for accepting money in exchange for promised political actions.
“The citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the people of Philadelphia deserve nothing but honest and hardworking representation. They don’t deserve elected officials who think that it is ok to sell their office,” said District Attorney Williams. “There are no free passes when it comes to corruption and the elected officials who break the law, and so I’d also like to thank the grand jury, the members of the District Attorney’s Office Public Corruption Task Force and the Pennsylvania State Police for their hard work and dedication.”
Recordings that were made by a confidential informant (CI) showed Bishop accepting three cash payments totaling $1,500, Brownlee accepting one cash payment of $2,000, and James accepting one payment totaling $750.
Brownlee and James testified before the investigating grand jury and admitted to what they had done. Bishop appeared before the grand jury after being subpoenaed but declined to answer questions about her relationship with the CI and the allegations contained in the attached presentment.
This presentment, which is part of an undercover investigation spearheaded by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General (OAG) between 2010 and 2012, is the third issued by the grand jury. It previously recommended charges against Thomasine Tynes, the former President Judge of the Philadelphia Traffic Court and Pennsylvania State Representatives Ronald Waters and Vanessa Lowery Brown.
Representatives Bishop and Brownlee and former Representative James will be turning themselves in to the Pennsylvania State Police this morning. A complete copy of the grand jury’s third presentment is attached.
PHILADELPHIA (March 9, 2015) – Today, 43-year-old Padge Windslowe was convicted by a jury of her peers of Third Degree Murder, Aggravated Assault, and two counts of Possession of an Instrument in Crime.
“What Ms. Windslowe did was nothing short of deplorable and so I am thankful to the hardworking jurors who recognized that she needed to be held accountable for her actions,” said District Attorney Seth Williams. “I’d also like to send my condolences to the Aderotimi family and to Claudia’s friends, and to thank Assistant District Attorneys Carlos Vega and Bridget Kirn for their hard work and diligence in prosecuting this case.”
On February 7, 2011, 20-year-old Claudia Aderotimi came from England to the United States after seeing an internet posting advertising body enhancements. Ms. Aderotimi was injected in her buttocks with a needle filled with silicone by Windslowe. Shortly after the injection, she experienced chest pains as the silicone traveled through her system and into her blood stream and organs. Ms. Aderotimi died a short time later. The Medical Examiner ultimately determined that Ms. Aderotimi died as a result of a pulmonary embolism from the silicone injection.
Even after Claudia’s death, Windslowe continued to perform procedures. She injected a young Philadelphia woman, who also suffered a pulmonary embolism, with silicone. Fortunately, the Philadelphia woman survived the treatment, but she will be forced to deal with the effects of the treatment for the rest of her life.
On February 29, 2012, Windslowe was arrested in East Germantown at a “pumping party” where it’s believed she was about to perform more procedures similar to the one that killed Ms. Aderotimi.
Padge Windslowe will be sentenced on June 11, 2015 in courtroom 1107. Assistant District Attorneys Carlos Vega and Bridget Kirn successfully prosecuted this case.
PHILADELPHIA (March 3, 2015) – Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams today announced that he charged U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Justin Ford with Theft by Unlawful Taking, Receiving Stolen Property, Official Oppression, and Conspiracy.
Ford was apprehended in a joint operation by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Dangerous Drug Offender’s Unit, Philadelphia Police Department, U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Inspector General, and the Middle and Eastern Districts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Pennsylvania.
“What Mr. Ford did was deplorable, it wasn’t the first time he stole from deportees, and so he will be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” said District Attorney Williams. “I’d like to thank the hard working members of the Philadelphia Police Department, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General, the Middle and Eastern Districts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the dedicated men and women of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office for working together to get this bad officer off the streets.”
On February 24, 2015, Agent Ford and his partner met with Philadelphia Police to take a prisoner, who was actually an undercover Philadelphia Police Officer assigned to the District Attorney’s Office, into custody. Agent Ford’s partner searched the prisoner and found $2,000 in marked bills. Then, once alone with the prisoner, Agent Ford repeatedly asked the prisoner about the money and when the under agent could not verify the amount, Agent Ford returned most of the money to the prisoner.
The intake officer at the York County Prison received the money taken from the undercover officer and turned it over to DHS investigators, who confirmed that $200 was missing. Agent Ford was followed back to Philadelphia and was taken into custody by members of the Philadelphia Police SWAT unit who found the two, marked $100 bills in his possession.
Justin Ford, whose bail was set at $25,000, was born in August of 1983.
PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY FILES PETITION IN PA SUPREME COURT AGAINST PA GOVERNOR WOLF’S UNCONSTITUTIONAL DEATH PENALTY “REPRIEVE”February 18, 2015
PHILADELPHIA (Feb.18, 2015) – Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams today announced that he has petitioned the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to reject Governor Tom Wolf’s recent death penalty “reprieve” because it is an unconstitutional takeover of powers that belong to the legislature, the courts, and the pardons board – and because it sends a troubling message to the victims of crime and the citizens of Pennsylvania.
“Just weeks ago, Governor Wolf took an oath to faithfully execute his duties in accordance with the constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” said Williams. “Our constitution does not allow the governor to satisfy his own personal opinions by halting a capital murderer’s sentence that was authorized by state statute, imposed by a unanimous Philadelphia jury, and upheld by state and federal courts.”
Unlike some states, Pennsylvania does not grant the Governor unlimited at-will power to issue a moratorium or pardon or commute any sentence of death or punishment.
Article IV, § 9 (a) of the Pennsylvania constitution states that “…no pardon shall be granted, nor sentence commuted, except on the recommendation in writing of a majority of the Board of Pardons, and, in the case of a sentence of death or life imprisonment, on the unanimous recommendation in writing of the Board of Pardons, after full hearing in open session, upon due public notice.”
Reprieves, like the one issued by the Governor for convicted murderer Terrance Williams, are designed to be limited in their duration and purpose. They exist to temporarily permit the examination of last-minute evidence or legal claims. But as the Governor himself acknowledged, there are no new claims in the case of Terrance Williams.
Terrance Williams has exhausted all of his appeals, including those to the Pennsylvania and United States Supreme Courts. He committed robberies and burglaries, broke into the home of an elderly woman on Christmas Eve with a rifle and threatened to blow her “f—ing head off,” and brutally bludgeoned to death two gay men so he could steal their belongings.
District Attorney Williams’ full filing with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is attached.