Archive for the ‘Press Release’ Category

PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE NAMES NINE IN CITY-WIDE STREET GAMBLING STING

October 19, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (Oct. 20, 2017) – Philadelphia District Attorney Kelley B. Hodge today announced charges against nine people associated with one of the largest illegal street lottery organizations in Philadelphia. The operation, run by Gary Creagh Sr., generated millions of dollars of illicit profits. A multi-year investigation into the operation was led by the Office’s Task Force on Illegal Gambling, which is funded by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, and was aided by the Philadelphia Police Department’s Vice Squad. A Philadelphia County investigating grand jury recommended the following charges:

Gary Creagh Sr. (DOB: 6-21-51), Frank Creagh (DOB: 6-19-67), William Creagh (DOB: 4-4-68), Kerri Creagh (DOB: 2-21-67), Mark Matera (DOB: 1-6-55), John McAnaney (DOB: 7-30-33), Jabbar Curry (DOB: 5-20-60), Kenneth Athy (DOB: 3-15-41), and Carlos Santiago (DOB: 5-13-39). Each person has been charged with Corrupt Organization (F-1), Dealing in the Proceeds of Unlawful Activities (F-1), Criminal conspiracy (F-1), and Illegal Lotteries (M-1). All of the defendants have been arrested, and if convicted each defendant could receive up to 65 years of incarceration.

“The illegal Creagh organization was truly a family affair, one that generated millions of dollars from dozens of nondescript locations across the City of Philadelphia,” said Kelley B. Hodge, District Attorney. “To the men and women of the Grand Jury, thank you for your hard work on this case. To our partners in the Philadelphia Police Department and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, I am appreciative of the support and resources you brought to this investigation and I congratulate everyone who worked on this case for shutting down this elaborate and illegal street lottery organization.”

The Creagh organization, which was controlled and led by Gary Creagh, Sr., employed dozens of individuals and operated in approximately 40 locations throughout the City. The operations were highly organized and located in unmarked buildings throughout the City, typically in low-income neighborhoods. “Players” would knock on one of the unmarked storefronts and would be admitted if they were known or not perceived as a threat. Each location typically had two employees, one watching the door and the other took and processed the bets.

“The quality of this investigation, and arrests which followed, are examples of outstanding collaborative work by several law enforcement agencies. We truly appreciate all of our law enforcement partners and the work they do,” said Richard Ross, Philadelphia Police Commissioner.

“We are pleased to see the Local Law Enforcement Grants awarded by our agency used effectively to thwart illegal and unregulated gambling,” said Executive Director Kevin F. O’Toole of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

A breakdown of what each defendant did for the organization follows:

  • Gary Creagh Sr. was the owner and chief operator of the enterprise;
  • Frank Creagh, Gary Creagh Sr.’s nephew, was assigned to collect money from workers and assisted in the overall management of the operation;
  • William Creagh assisted in the maintenance and management of the organization;
  • Kerri Creagh, Gary Creagh Sr.’s daughter, assisted in the financial management of the illegal proceeds earned from the lottery and in the overall operation of the enterprise;
  • Mark Matera owned several lottery locations with Creagh, collected money from the lottery locations, and assisted in the overall maintenance and management of the enterprise; and
  • Kenneth Athy, Jabbar Curry, John McAnaney, and Carlos Santiago were employees who worked directly in picking up and delivering money to and from the locations.

All of these defendants were also tasked with maintaining the overall organization and making sure each location ran smoothly. For example, they made sure each of the locations was staffed and well supplied with office supplies; carbon betting slips; telephones; tables; chairs; and coffee makers, coffee cups, cream, sugar, and paper towels. Creagh often would pay the utilities and taxes on a number of the locations, regardless of whether he owned them or not.

To place a bet, a player would fill out a carbon bet slip with their name, numbers picked, and the amount to bet on each number. The carbon bet slips would then be separated into a white copy for the organization and a yellow copy for the player. The lottery offered several betting options for players. Some included bets based on numbers selected in Pennsylvania’s Daily Number and the Big 4 lottery drawings. Winning numbers were also chosen from designated horse races throughout the day. Players could cast bets between 10¢ and $20 depending on the game. The street lottery paid winners a greater value for winning numbers, 700 to 1, compared to the Commonwealth’s legal lottery that pays 500 to 1.

Detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and officers from the Philadelphia Police Department conducted surveillance and undercover operations at numerous street lottery locations. The investigation uncovered dozens of locations where bets were placed. More than 30 locations had direct links to Gary Creagh Sr.

The Grand Jury heard extensive evidence about the assets and cash flow of the street lottery enterprise and of Gary Creagh Sr. Over a thirty month period between 2011 and 2014, for example, Creagh deposited over $3 million into his personal accounts. Many of the deposits were made in cash and extensively deposited on the same dates in different banks. None of the cash deposits exceeded $9,000, and the majority of the deposits did not exceed $5,000. Over the last several years, Creagh spent almost $500,000 on luxury vehicles and millions of dollars to purchase numerous properties in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Florida, and Nevada.

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JOINT TASK FORCE MAKES $370,000 HEROIN AND FENTANYL BUST IN OXFORD CIRCLE

September 18, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (Sept. 18, 2017) – Philadelphia District Attorney Kelley B. Hodge today announced the results of a successful joint investigation with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Philadelphia Division that led to an arrest and the confiscation of approximately $370,000 in heroin and fentanyl. Frank Merehildo Rondon (DOB: 11-19-96) has been arrested and charged with Possession with the Intent to Deliver (Ungraded Felony) and Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Misdemeanor of the 1st degree). If found guilty, the defendant could face approximately 20 years in prison.

In addition to drug paraphernalia, packaging materials, and heroin stamps; officers from the joint task force seized bulk heroin and fentanyl from a property on the 1000 block of Rosalie St. in the Oxford Circle section of the City. The confiscated drugs weighed about 600 grams, which included 20 racks of heroin totaling 3060 packets.

“The poison that is contained in just a small amount of these drugs is catastrophic,” said Kelley B. Hodge, District Attorney for the City of Philadelphia. “And this bust was literally around the corner from a Philadelphia High School, so I am so very thankful to the men and women of the Office’s Dangerous Drug Offender Unit and our partners in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Philadelphia Division, Group 51 for taking this heroin and fentanyl off of our streets,” said Kelley B. Hodge, District Attorney for the City of Philadelphia.

“This seizure, which was the result of a joint investigation by the DEA, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, and the Philadelphia Police Department, represents a substantial amount of heroin and fentanyl. The packaging and stamps, one of which was “Super O.D.,” recovered from this residence indicate that these drugs were ready to be packaged and distributed on the streets of our communities,” said Gary Tuggle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Philadelphia Field Division. “In 2016, fentanyl and fentanyl related substances were responsible for 52% of the 4,642 drug overdose deaths across Pennsylvania. In the midst of the most damaging drug epidemic in our history, this seizure will undoubtedly save lives.”

Members of the task force have been conducting investigations into heroin distributors operating in Philadelphia and received information that a male was selling heroin from the Rosalie St. property. Investigators set up their surveillance operation and on numerous occasions observed Rondon meeting with individuals for drug sales. On Sept. 13, 2017, investigators obtained a search and seizure warrant for the Rosalie St. property. There were seven individuals in the residence, including Rondon, and a 10 year old child and an infant. The property was secured and Philadelphia’s Department of Human Services was notified about the child.

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KELLEY B. HODGE SWORN IN AS PHILADELPHIA’S 25TH DISTRICT ATTORNEY

July 24, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (July 24, 2017) – Kelley B. Hodge was sworn in today as the City of Philadelphia’s 25th District Attorney. Hodge, who was elected on July 20, 2017, by the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas’ Board of Judges, will serve until the newly elected District Attorney takes office in 2018.

“Thank you for having the confidence in me to lead this office, an office that I have profound admiration and respect for. The Board of Judges have entrusted me with a responsibility that requires diligence, intelligence, patience and most of all humility, and I can assure you that I will work every day, as I have for my 20 years as an attorney and advocate, to deliver just that to the citizens of Philadelphia,” said Kelley B. Hodge, District Attorney for the City of Philadelphia.

“To the members of the District Attorney’s Office, it’s good to be back, and this is our restoration period. Our opportunity to look at adversity from the rear-view mirror and know you have weathered the storm. The citizens of this city deserve our best as members of the District Attorney’s office and I hope to inspire you all to always seek to do better today than you did the day before,” Hodge added.

Before her election, District Attorney Hodge was Of Counsel to Elliott Greenleaf where she developed a practice focusing on criminal, education, risk assessment, compliance, and civil rights law. Prior to joining Greenleaf, she was the Title IX Coordinator at the University of Virginia and responsible for the implementation of a new sex and gender based harassment policy in the University’s eleven schools.

Before joining the University of Virginia, Ms. Hodge was appointed by former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett to serve as the Safe Schools Advocate under the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. As Advocate, Hodge oversaw the reporting and response to incidents of violence in the Philadelphia Public School system. She worked closely with the First Judicial District Juvenile and Adult Courts, local law enforcement, mental and behavioral health agencies, and Philadelphia’s City Council, District Attorney’s Office, Mayor’s Office, and human relations agencies to ensure each student’s civil rights were protected.

“I would also like to thank the office’s leadership team who not only kept improving the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office’s policies and programs, but made sure the entire organization remained focused on justice and serving the people of Philadelphia,” said Hodge.

Ms. Hodge began practicing law in the Commonwealth of Virginia as a criminal defense attorney for the Richmond Public Defender’s Office in 1997. In 2004, she began practicing law in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. For eight years, Ms. Hodge prosecuted thousands of cases ranging from Misdemeanor Theft to Attempted Murder in the First Judicial District. She trained and managed new and seasoned Assistant District Attorneys and assisted in the creation and implementation of various diversionary programs.

In 2013, she was selected to serve on a Pennsylvania Joint State Commission on Violence Prevention in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, and in 2014 she was appointed by Governor Corbett to serve on the Interstate Compact for Juvenile Justice.

Ms. Hodge received her Juris Doctor from the University of Richmond’s T.C. Williams School of Law in 1996. She is a 1993 graduate of the University of Virginia where she received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Foreign Affairs and in Spanish Language and Literature. She is a native of Montgomery County, PA and graduated from Mount Saint Joseph Academy in Flourtown, PA. Ms. Hodge currently resides with her husband and son in the Northwest section of Philadelphia.

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PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE RELEASES STATEMENT ON KELLEY B. HODGE BEING APPOINTED AS INTERIM DISTRICT ATTORNEY

July 21, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (July 20, 2017) – The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office today released the following statement on the appointment of Kelley B. Hodge as Interim District Attorney by the Court of Common Pleas Board of Judges:

“The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office congratulates Interim District Attorney Hodge on her appointment. We are excited to welcome her back to the Office, and we look forward to working with her throughout her term in office.”

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PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE AND AMTRAK CLOSE $26,000 FRAUD CASE

July 13, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (July 13, 2017) – The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and Amtrak’s Office of Inspector General today announced the arrest and prosecution of Shohana Culberson for defrauding Amtrak of more than $26,000 in illegal tickets. Culberson (DOB: 03-16-1987) was charged with Theft of Services and Criminal Conspiracy, and was terminated from Amtrak.

“The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is always ready to support our fellow investigators,” said Kathleen E. Martin, Acting Philadelphia District Attorney. “After a joint investigation, we charged Shohana Culberson for illegally using her position as an Amtrak employee to acquire more than 281 tickets, totaling $26,270, between December 2014 and April 2016.”

An Amtrak Conductor in Selma, North Carolina in May of 2016, found two passengers who could not produce identification for their Employee Rail Pass tickets They were escorted off the train and consented to a search. One passenger was found to be in possession of Oxymorphone Hydrochloride, a Schedule II Drug, and the other had an outstanding arrest warrant for Trafficking Opium and Heroin from Cumberland County, North Carolina. Both individuals were arrested.

The Amtrak Police Department (APD) discovered that their tickets were created using the Amtrak Employee Rail Pass assigned to Culberson. The travelers listed on the reservation were her alleged spouse and her daughter. While Culberson told OIG investigators that she had been married since 2008; that was later discovered to not be true. After assisting in the investigation, the DAO affirmed charges for defrauding Amtrak of goods and services. An Arrest Warrant was issued for Culberson, and she later surrendered Amtrak Police at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. Ultimately, Culberson received five years of probation and ordered to pay restitution to Amtrak.

“I commend the OIG staff and our partners in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office who investigated this case. It shows that area law enforcement and the Office of Inspector General are committed in preventing and detecting fraud, waste, and abuse whenever and wherever it happens,” said Tom Howard, Amtrak Inspector General.

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PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE ISSUES STATEMENT ON THE RESIGNATION OF R. SETH WILLIAMS AS PHILADELPHIA’S DISTRICT ATTORNEY

June 29, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (June 29, 2017) – Kathleen Martin, First Assistant for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office (DAO) today released the following statement on the resignation of R. Seth Williams as Philadelphia’s District Attorney:

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office embodies the phrase that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The Assistant District Attorneys and professional staff of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office are among the finest in the country. Throughout this unfortunate period they continued to display the diligence, fortitude, and integrity that has historically been a hallmark of the Office. I could not be more proud of how my hardworking colleagues have conducted themselves in light of the investigation and prosecution of Mr. Williams, and now with the conclusion of this case, Philadelphians should know that their District Attorney’s Office continues the pursuit of justice and the hope for a safer city endures.

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HOTLINE OPEN TO RECEIVE REPORTS OF PAYMENTS FOR SERVICES BY THE PHILADELPHIA VETERANS ADVISORY COMMISSION

June 1, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (June 1, 2017) – The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office (DAO) today released the following statement announcing the creation of a hotline so citizens can report any requests of payment for services by the Philadelphia Veterans Advisory Commission:

As of a result of citizen inquiries, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is asking anyone who paid a fee to receive any type of service from the Philadelphia Veteran’s Advisory Commission to contact the Office’s consumer hotline at 215-686-9641. Examples of fees could include; but are not limited to; legal, housing, or disability fees.

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HOTLINE OPEN TO RECEIVE REPORTS OF PAYMENTS FOR SERVICES BY THE PHILADELPHIA VETERANS ADVISORY COMMISSION

June 1, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (June 1, 2017) – The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office (DAO) today released the following statement announcing the creation of a hotline so citizens can report any requests of payment for services by the Philadelphia Veterans Advisory Commission:

As of a result of citizen inquiries, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is asking anyone who paid a fee to receive any type of service from the Philadelphia Veteran’s Advisory Commission to contact the Office’s consumer hotline at 215-686-9641. Examples of fees could include; but are not limited to; legal, housing, or disability fees.

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STATEMENT ON VACATING THE CONVICTION OF SHARUN THOMAS

May 23, 2017

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office today issued the following statment on vacating the conviction of Shaurn Thomas from Kathleen E. Martin, First Assistant District Attorney:

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is proud to have a conviction review unit that meets or exceeds all national protocols. I am grateful for the hard work and dedication of BJ Graham-Rubin, Andrew Wellbrock and Jill Roth who are tirelessly reviewing all case that have been submitted. Our role is to seek justice at every opportunity and whether it be prosecuting violent criminals or reviewing cases to ensure those behind bars deserve to be there, we will carry out this duty fairly and thoroughly. As you know, we have agreed to vacate the conviction of Mr. Thomas and recommend his immediate pretrial release. We will continue to review this case and make a decision regarding retrial in the very near future.

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ON PRIMARY DAY ELECTION FRAUD TASK FORCE WILL BE READY FOR VOTERS

May 10, 2017

Hotline will take calls at 215-686-9641, 9643, or 9644

PHILADELPHIA (May 10, 2017) – Once the polls open on Tuesday, May 16, 2017, Philadelphians can call the Election Fraud Task Force at 215-686-9641, 9643, or 9644 if they see or experience fraud at the polls. The Task Force will have 57 Assistant District Attorneys (ADA) and specially assigned detectives available to address any Primary Election Day concerns.

“As in past elections, we will have ADAs deployed throughout the city before the polls open and Task Force members stationed in Philadelphia’s Central Election Court to respond to any Primary Election Day concerns,” said Kathleen Martin, First Assistant District Attorney.

The Election Fraud Task Force will coordinate its efforts with the City Commissioners and Philadelphia’s Central Election Court to respond to any election-related concerns. As always, if the need arises, the Task Force can enlist additional ADAs on Primary Election Day to respond to emerging issues. Typically, the Task Force is asked to respond to allegations of illegal voting, candidate write-in issues, refusal of election boards to recognize poll watcher certificates, intimidation, illegal electioneering, and illegal voting assistance.

In March, the Election Fraud Task Force launched an investigation into the 197th Legislative District Special Election. That investigation, which is being conducted in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, is still ongoing.

The Election Fraud Task Force was created in 2014 to investigate and prosecute allegations of Election Day criminal activity. The Task Force continues to be part of the District Attorney’s Special Investigations Unit and is staffed by ADAs and detectives. The office will be issuing Primary Election updates via its Twitter account while the polls are open.

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