Archive for the ‘Press Release’ Category


March 17, 2016

If found guilty, Jeffries faces an additional three life sentences

PHILADELPHIA (March 17, 2016) – Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams today announced that after a review by an Investigating Grand Jury, he is charging Quadir Jeffries (DOB: 12/5/91) with three counts of Murder for the February 13, 2014, killing of Keurlin Charles, Brian Williams and Vagner Freemont.

He is also being charged with three counts of Robbery (F1), one count of Burglary (F1), one count of Possession of an Instrument of Crime (M1), one count of Carrying Firearm without a License (F3), one count of Carrying a Firearm on the Public Streets (M1) and one count of Conspiracy (F1).

“Quadir Jefferies committed a horrible, triple murder,” said Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams. “And I chose to submit his case to the Investigating Grand Jury because certain witnesses were reluctant to give simple answers to simple questions. I’m thankful for the good work of the Grand Jury and investigators, and hopeful that the families of Keurlin Charles, Brian Williams and Vagner Freemont will begin to receive the justice they deserve.”

Keurlin Charles, Brian Williams and Vagner Freemont were shot and killed inside a home on the 6300 block of Martins Mill Road in Philadelphia. All three victims were shot execution style with gunshot wounds to the head. After a detailed investigation, the physical and circumstantial evidence established that Quadir Jeffries was one of two killers at the scene. The other killer was Cori Thompson. Thompson was arrested in October of 2015 after providing a statement to investigators. The evidence against Jeffries ties him to Charles’, Williams’ and Freemont’s murders because of three major facts. First, fired cartridge cases from the scene matched a fired cartridge case from the scene of a nonfatal shooting home invasion twenty-six days prior, for which Jeffries was convicted. The evidence in that case showed that Jeffries fired the gun that left the cartridge behind. Second, cellular information put him at the scene of the crime. And third, he had and used Brian Williams’ bank card after the murder.

Jeffries is currently incarcerated. In December of 2015 Quadir Jeffries, Alonzo Wallace and Hakim Blatch were found guilty by a jury of their peers of Conspiracy (F1), Burglary (F1), Robbery (F1), and two counts of Aggravated Assault (F1) for a violent home invasion robbery that took place in the Hunting Park section of the City. Jeffries, Wallace and Blatch conspired to rob the 57-year-old male victim. Jeffries, Wallace and Blatch followed the victim to his house, gained entry through a co-conspirator, knocked a bedroom door off its hinges, and pistol whipped and stomped the victim in the face. Another person who was in the home at the time of the attack was shot by Wallace for confronting the trio. Jeffries, Wallace and Blatch took money and marijuana from the home and fled, but were eventually caught and convicted after female co-defendant pled guilty herself and testified against the attackers. Wallace was sentenced to 30-60 years, Blatch was sentenced to 23-46 years, and Jeffries 20-40 years.

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office’s (DAO) investigation heard from many witnesses who corroborated the case’s evidence. In addition to the evidence and interviews, there was significant corroborating evidence from Jeffries’ own statements.

Jeffries will next appear, once a date has been scheduled, in court for his Preliminary Hearing.



March 16, 2016

PHILADELPHIA (March 16, 2016) – Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams today announced that after a review by an Investigating Grand Jury, he is charging former Visit Philadelphia Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Joyce Levitt (DOB: 6/28/54) with one count of Theft by Unlawful Taking (F3), one count of Theft by Deception (F3), one count of Theft Receiving Stolen Property (F3), twenty counts of Forgery (F3) and one charge of Access Device for Fraud (F3) for embezzling $200,000 from Visit Philadelphia (VP).

“Visit Philadelphia let Joyce Levitt watch the ledger books and $200,000 of the agency’s money charged out the door,” said Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams. “Thank you to the men and women of my Economic and Cyber Crime Unit and the Investigating Grand Jury who, like me, are disgusted by Joyce Levitt’s embezzlement of money that was meant to benefit the people and City of Philadelphia and not her lifestyle.”

VP, formerly known as the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) is a non-profit organization that promotes leisure travel to the five-county Philadelphia region. It was created in 1996 by the City of Philadelphia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and The Pew Charitable Trusts. Since its inception, VP’s major source of funding comes from the City’s hotel tax. For fiscal year 2015, VP will receive $11,000,000 or 18 percent of the hotel tax.

Joyce Levitt was hired by VP in 2003 and became the organization’s CFO in 2005. As the CFO, Levitt was responsible for monitoring the hotel tax income, overseeing grants, compiling the agency’s financial statements, monitoring cash flow, and assisting and reporting to the Finance and Audit Committees of the Board.

Joyce Levitt’s embezzlement occurred from September 2005 through February 2012, but came to light on June 7, 2014, in a major Philadelphia newspaper that discussed how Levitt embezzled $200,000. Once the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office (DAO) saw the article, the Office initiated a Grand Jury investigation.

The DAO’s investigation, and a 2011 VP audit, revealed that Levitt embezzled $118,806 by charging personal expenses to her corporate credit card. She also used VP’s corporate checks to pay for her personal Visa bills. During the time period of June 2007 through April 2011, Levitt wrote twenty checks totaling $83,632. She was able to write these checks to Visa with a signature stamp without permission. Some examples of her illegal charges include:

  • $19,470.20 for meals at high-end local restaurants;
  • $18,734.63 at BJ’s and Costco;
  • Two charges to a South Jersey Skin Care facility totaling $4,106.47; and
  • $1,567.50 to a New York furrier.

The 2011 audit revealed that Levitt did not submit, even when asked, receipts to support her purchases. The amounts and dates for what was submitted did not match, which led the auditors to conclude that Levitt had manipulated them and there were personal expenses charged to her card. After seeing the suspicious charges, auditors examined Levitt’s QuickBooks entries, the record keeping system VP used, and saw that she had voided or deleted entries. Her statements for October 2010 through September 2011 were online printouts and not originals, and Levitt had no documentation for October and November of 2010 and from January through September 2011. It was also found that the forms she submitted with these statements were backdated and manipulated.

The DAO began looking at this case in August of 2014 and submitted it to the Grand Jury in January 2015. Their hard work and dedication, looking at more than 40 exhibits and hearing from 20 witnesses, lead to today’s announcement of charges.

Joyce Levitt turned herself in today and will next appear, once a date has been scheduled, in court for her Preliminary Hearing.



March 10, 2016

PHILADELPHIA (March 10, 2016) – Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams today announced that after a review by an Investigating Grand Jury he is charging Edward R. Kirby (DOB: 12-3-56) and Edward A. Kirby (DOB: 6-19-81) for the death of George Kirby (DOB: 7-23-49).

Edward R. Kirby and Edward A. Kirby, who are respectively father and son, are charged with: Drug Delivery Resulting in Death (F1), Criminal Conspiracy to Commit Criminal Homicide/Drug Delivery Resulting in Death (F1), Criminal Homicide, Criminal Conspiracy (F3), 23 counts of Insurance Fraud (10 charges are F3 and 13 charges are M1), 13 counts of Identity Theft (F3), Five counts of Theft by Deception (F3), Five counts of Criminal Attempt to Commit Theft by Deception (F3), and 34 counts of Forgery (F3). Edward R. Kirby and George Kirby are brothers.

“The father and son duo of Edward R. and Edward A. Kirby killed a sick family member so they could reap the rewards of ten fraudulently attained insurance policies with, not a gun or a knife, pills. Their actions are evil and deplorable and they deserve nothing short of the maximum punishment under the law,” said Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams. “I extend thanks to the men and women of the Investigating Grand Jury, the Philadelphia Police Department and my Office’s Insurance Fraud Unit who put in hours of hard work to complete this investigation.”

At the time of his death, George Kirby was essentially home-bound and shared a home with his eighty-four-year-old caretaker aunt, Betty Murray, in the Frankford section of Philadelphia. George’s medical records show that he was being treated for pain, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and a heart condition. He was on oxygen 24-hours a day, developed a tolerance and addictive craving for strong medications, and had a history of drug abuse. He was also completely unaware of the insurance fraud scheme.

Edward R. Kirby had a history of significant drug abuse. His son Edward A. Kirby, fraudulently obtained ten life insurance policies as George Kirby so he could collect more than $100,000 in benefits. He attempted to apply for additional policies totaling almost $200,000. Edward A. Kirby completed and submitted the policy applications, forged signatures and falsely portrayed himself as the decedent by utilizing his own address, phone number and email address. When on the telephone with the insurance companies, Edward A. Kirby used an IP Relay System, a service accessed through the internet for the speech or hearing impaired, so the person on the other end of the phone would not recognize his voice.

Sometime in the month before the decedent died, Nicholas Kirby, who was George Kirby’s son, was on the phone with his uncle. Edward R. Kirby thought Nicholas hung up, so Edward A. Kirby, who was also on the phone, started to talk about their plan.

Nicholas heard the following:

“Go down there and kill him. Make it look like an accident. Just put a pillow over him and smother him,” said Edward A. Kirby.

Edward R. Kirby responded, “It’s not that easy.”

“I don’t care what you do, just take care of it. He’s your brother, you do it. The quicker you do this, the quicker we can get the money,” said Edward A. Kirby.

When Nicholas heard the “your brother” reference, he realized that they were talking about killing his father and so he called Officer McNicholas, a Philadelphia Police Officer friend.

About a month later, Edward R. Kirby delivered a bottle containing fifty methadone pills to the decedent. Nicholas testified that Edward R. Kirby, an addict himself who was taking prescribed methadone for pain, was well aware about what would happen when George took the methadone pills. George died of methadone intoxication. Nicholas, who was now certain that defendants had killed his father, once again called his police officer friend. After hearing what had occurred, Officer McNicholas contacted Detective Peters who was assigned to the Homicide Division and requested that a homicide investigation be opened.

During the investigation, Edward R. Kirby and Edward A. Kirby told inconsistent accounts, but their accounts were disproved by the evidence, especially when detectives recorded phone conversations between Nicholas and his uncle and cousin.

Edward R. Kirby and Edward A. Kirby will next appear, once a date has been scheduled, in court for their Preliminary Hearing.



March 9, 2016

Each participant could face up to 1280 years of incarceration for defrauding the people of Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (March 9, 2016) – Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams today announced that after a review by an Investigating Grand Jury he is charging Ronald Galati, Sr. (DOB: 11-10-50); Ronald Galati, Jr. (DOB: 12-8-77) and Robert Otterson (DOB: 2-26-66) for their role in an insurance fraud scam that stole over $400,000 from the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Fleet Management.

The three are each charged with one count of Theft by Unlawful Taking (F2), one count of Theft by Deception (F2), one count of Theft Receiving Stolen Property (F2), one count of Criminal Conspiracy (F2) and 178 counts of Tampering with Public Records or Information. If convicted on all charges, the Galatis and Otterson could face up to 1280 years of incarceration for defrauding the people of Philadelphia.

“Ronald Galati, Sr.; Ronald Galati, Jr. and Robert Otterson thought that defrauding the people of the City of Philadelphia of over four hundred thousand dollars was a good idea; it wasn’t. And I can assure them that my Office and our partners in government will do everything we can to ensure that they are punished to the fullest extent of the law,” said Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the men and women of the Investigating Grand Jury, the City of Philadelphia and the Office of Fleet Management, Assistant District Attorney Dawn Holtz, my Office’s Insurance Fraud Unit, the Pennsylvania State Police and all the investigators who contributed to this case for their hard and important work.”

In 2010, The City of Philadelphia’s Office of Fleet Management solicited a bid for area automotive shops to receive overflow repair work. In order to become a designated overflow site, auto body shops had to pass an initial inspection and compete in the bidding process. The body shop offering the lowest quote would be the contract’s primary repair facility and second lowest bidder would become the secondary repair facility. Each bidder also had to own an inverted squeeze-resistant spot welder at the time of the pre-bid inspection. Fleet Management named Pacifico Ford as the primary contractor and American Collision, which is located at 1930 S. 20th St. in Philadelphia, as the secondary repair facility. Galati, Sr. secured the contract because he colluded with Robert Otterson who was a Fleet Management Team Leader and Licensed Appraiser to manipulate the bidding process. Otterson not only told Galati the amount he should bid for the City contract, but he also passed American Collision through the preliminary inspection despite the fact that the shop did not own the required welder.

American Collision’s designation as a secondary contract shop was mutually beneficial to both Galati and Otterson. Otterson had the ability to direct where city cars would be repaired. He also would write the initial appraisal for each vehicle’s anticipated repairs, endorse and authorize any additional costs, and approve Galati, Sr.’s fraudulently inflated repair and labor costs. As payment, Galati, Sr. would then share some of the ill-gotten proceeds with Otterson.

Fleet Management terminated Otterson and began their own internal investigation as well. The DAO found that the labor hours listed on American Collision’s appraisals were often three times greater than the amount of labor hours anticipated by Fleet Management and that American Collision frequently billed for auto parts that Fleet Management had already provided to the shop for repairs. Based upon the review there were discrepancies on 182 repair jobs, some examples include:

  • American Collision billed approximately two hundred hours of labor, at a rate of $30 per hour, for repairs to one city vehicle. Fleet Management estimated that the repairs should take fifty-seven hours;
  • Photographs of one damaged vehicle show that the car only had a few scratches to the rear bumper. Fleet Management had estimated that it would take approximately sixteen hours to repair the vehicle. American Collision presented an invoice for one hundred and thirteen hours; and
  • Another city vehicle was sent to American Collision with $4,000 worth of pre-purchased parts that were necessary to complete the repair. The internal investigation found that American Collision’s invoice charged the City $6,000 for the same parts that had already been provided to the shop.

Pacifico’s estimates were almost always identical to Fleet Management’s original estimate. However, even though Pacifico was the primary contract shop, they received only 115 cars between 2011 and 2013, and American Collision received 192 cars because Otterson sent more repairs to American Collision contrary to the status as the secondary repair facility.

The DAO’s Insurance Fraud Unit’s investigation also found that Otterson, would burn the inflated estimates in a fire pit in his backyard after he had provided the amount to Galati, Jr. In addition to finding charred paperwork, investigators also discovered receipts for a $2,000 watch, new awnings for approximately $2,000, a water heater for $2,000, new carpets for $700, new windows for approximately $8,000, a Harley Davidson for $9,000, and receipts for multiple guns that were purchased with cash.

Between May 1, 2010, and May 30, 2011, Otterson made seventy-eight calls to Galati, Sr. and twenty-eight calls to Galati, Jr. During the same time period, Otterson only made three phone calls to the manager of Pacifico. The investigation also uncovered that there were ten e-mails which discussed the city contract sent from Robert Otterson’s personal e-mail account to Galati, Jr.’s e-mail account.

In late 2012, at the conclusion of the investigation, the DAO’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit notified the Office of Fleet Management that Otterson would be charged. In January of 2013, Ronald Galati, Sr. and Ronald Galati, Jr., along with forty co-defendants, were indicted and charged with operating a large insurance fraud scheme from their body shop, American Collision. Those charges along with these new charges are scheduled for trial in September 7, 2016.

Ronald Galati, Sr. remains incarcerated without bail awaiting his September trial. Ronald Galati, Jr. and Robert Otterson are currently out on bail, also awaiting trial, and have waived their preliminary hearing. All parties have agreed to have these new charges added to their previous case.



March 7, 2016

PHILADELPHIA (March 7, 2016) – Today, the Honorable Diana Anhalt sentenced 28-year-old Milton Garcia to a total of 22 to 44 years in state prison. The defendant entered an open no-contest plea to the crimes of Rape, Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse, Kidnapping, and Burglary on November 10, 2015, as jury selection was about to begin in his the case.

“Milton Garcia does not belong on Philadelphia’s streets and, as a result of today’s sentencing, he won’t be anymore,” said Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams. “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Assistant District Attorney Kelly Harrell of my Office’s Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit for her hard work.”

On June 21, 2014, around 1 a.m., the 26-year-old victim was walking home to her apartment on the 1900 block of Spruce St. near Rittenhouse Square when the defendant, a stranger to the victim, approached her and grabbed her from behind. When the victim tried to escape the defendant’s grasp, he grabbed her by the back of her neck and pushed her inside her apartment building. He forced her to open the door to her own apartment, threw her to the floor and sexually assaulted her. Shortly after he left, he returned to the victim’s apartment a second time. She pleaded with him to take her personal belongings and leave her alone, but he sexually assaulted her again. Afterwards, he stole her apartment keys and cell phone. The victim was able to activate an old cell phone to call 911. The next day, Detectives from the Philadelphia Police Department’s Special Victims Unit tracked the victim’s phone to the defendant’s residence in South Philadelphia. Officers recovered the phone while executing a search warrant and DNA evidence linked the defendant to the crime.

Assistant District Attorney Kelly Harrell stated, “The victim showed great courage in confronting her assailant in court and Judge Anhalt’s sentence ensures this sexual predator will harm no other women.”

The victim and her mother provided emotional impact testimony at sentencing. The victim described living in a state of fear and experiencing regular nightmares and flashbacks as a result of the assault she endured, but she has courageously rebuilt her life since the assault by returning to work and moving back into the city.



February 24, 2016

PHILADELPHIA (Feb. 24, 2016) – Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams today appointed Dr. Claude Thomas to serve as the next Chief County Detective for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office (DAO). The Office’s Chief County Detective has complete oversight of all law enforcement personnel assigned to the DAO, which includes approximately 60 Detectives.

“On behalf of the 600 men and women of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, I’d like to congratulate Dr. Thomas on his new appointment as the Office’s new Chief County Detective,” said Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams. “Claude does not just have almost three decades of exemplary experience on the local, state and federal law enforcement levels; he has a powerful command of the work we do here in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. He is a leader inside and outside the Office to his fellow Detectives and community members. And, he is an outstanding officer and dedicated professional who has proven himself as a consummate public servant and role model to many of the students who have come into the Office to learn about what we do to keep Philadelphians safe.”

Thomas joined the DAO in 2013 as an Investigator responsible for conducting political and public figure criminal investigations. Before joining the DAO, he was a Senior Supervisory Special Agent for the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office (AG). As a Special Agent, he conducted criminal investigations of secret and sensitive corruption cases, oversaw and guided the investigations of multiple AG Investigators and served as a resource for citizens, civic organizations, community groups, school districts and other organizations to help reduce drug abuse and crime in the Commonwealth. He was also a Narcotics Agent II conducting undercover criminal investigations of highly confidential and sensitive local and state criminal, street and organized crime and fraud cases. Before joining the AG’s Office in 1990, he was a State Police Trooper for the Pennsylvania State Police with a 96 percent criminal prosecution rate.

In addition to having his Doctor of Education from Wilmington University, Dr. Thomas has a Master of Sciences Degree in Administration of Criminal Justice from St. Joseph’s University, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Organizational Management from Eastern University. He has also received numerous law enforcement certifications and state and federal security clearances. Thomas is filling a position that has been vacant for the last three years.



February 19, 2016

PHILADELPHIA (Feb. 19, 2016) – The Philadelphia District Attorney today released the following statement about his ongoing investigation into the Feb. 7, 2016, fight that took place at the Recess Lounge (125 S. 2nd St.) in Old City Philadelphia:

My team and I are continuing to investigate the incident that took place at the Recess Lounge. Like with all investigations, I don’t comment about what I will or will not do until all of the evidence has been thoroughly reviewed.

I understand that people are interested in the outcome of our investigation, but we’re not going to rush because some people are impatient – and to say that I am unwilling to prosecute difficult cases is a little misinformed. I’m the DA who has prosecuted police, gone after priests who shielded pedophiles, lawmakers who were caught on tape taking money for political favors and the people who attacked a gay couple in Center City.

The people of Philadelphia elected me to charge the right people with the right crimes nothing more and nothing less. My only goal is to get it right, not fast. The last thing we need is a rush to judgment.

I can handle the challenge of difficult cases and I’m only going to operate on one timeline: The timeline that ends when all the evidence is collected, has been reviewed and I have made the decision to charge or not charge a case.



February 17, 2016

PHILADELPHIA (Feb. 17, 2016) – Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams today announced that 37-year-old Jason Guerra was convicted of Rape, Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse, Human Trafficking, five counts of Promoting the Prostitution of a Minor and related charges by a jury of his peers. Once sentenced by the Hon. Diana Anhalt on May 20, 2016, he will be a lifetime Megan’s Law registrant and faces a maximum possible penalty of 159 years in prison.

“This victim was just fourteen years old when these crimes were committed and I thank the jury for their verdict today,” said District Attorney Seth Williams. “This child and the other young women who testified showed tremendous courage in facing their tormentor and holding him accountable for the devastation he wrought on their lives. The jury’s verdict sends a powerful message to traffickers who profit off of the suffering of their victims that they will be held accountable.”

At the age of 14, Guerra approached the victim on the street and subsequently recruited her into his human trafficking operation. Over a seven month period from 2012 to 2013, Guerra forced the child to engage in sex with men up to eight times a day at various hotels in Philadelphia and Chester while he kept all the money charged. After recruiting her, Guerra forcibly raped the victim and on several occasions, beat and threatened to kill her if she did not continue to work for him. On one occasion, Guerra beat the victim so badly that she miscarried a pregnancy. The victim was also intimidated by seeing Guerra beat other young women he was trafficking.

In 2013, the victim was eventually found by the FBI, and the investigation revealed Guerra’s trafficking operation. Three other women testified that Guerra forced them into sexual servitude at various times from 2007 through 2013. The women testified that Guerra would beat and threaten them if they did not comply with his demands to have sex with other men for money. The women suffered broken ribs and fingers in these beatings. Guerra further controlled some of the young women who suffered from addiction by giving and then withholding heroin and crack cocaine. These women identified four other young women whom they had seen Guerra trafficking, three of whom are now dead from drug overdoses.

This case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Rochelle Keyhan of the Office’s Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit.



February 17, 2016

PHILADELPHIA (Feb. 17, 2016) – Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams announced that Philadelphia Police Detective Adam O’Donnell turned himself in today after being charged with Aggravated Assault (F1), Simple Assault (M2), Kidnapping (F1), Unlawful Restraint (M2), Obstructing Administration of Law (M2), and Official Oppression (M2).

On February 3, 2015, Theodore Life, Jr. (age 45) was being escorted out of the Philadelphia Police Department’s Special Victims Unit, located at 300 E. Hunting Park Ave., by Det. O’Donnell. Outside the view of security cameras, Det. O’Donnell grabbed Mr. Life and kicked him once in the knee. After falling to the ground in pain, Life regained his composure and found that he could stand but could not put any weight on his leg. Det. O’Donnell then put Mr. Life in an unmarked police vehicle and drove him to the Hunting Park section of the City where he dropped the injured Mr. Life off on a random roadside.

“A senseless attack on one Philadelphian is an attack on all Philadelphians,” said District Attorney Seth Williams. “I also hope that by charging Mr. O’Donnell he not only understands the severity of his crime but is reminded that when law enforcement does something to clearly hurt a complainant it will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Mr. Life was unable to walk because of the pain, so he called his father to find him and drive him to the hospital. Mr. Life was treated at Albert Einstein Medical Center and Abington Memorial Hospital for a non-displaced femur fracture. As a result of his injuries, Mr. Life continues to walk with a limp and continues to undergo treatment.

Adam O’Donnell (date of birth: November 1, 1972) was hired by the Philadelphia Police Department in 2006.


February 11, 2016

PHILADELPHIA (Feb. 11, 2016) – Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams today, in an effort to continue to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of his Office, announced the following changes to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office (DAO) leadership team.

“Good people in the right positions make for an effective Office and strong prosecutions. It’s part of my commitment to the people of Philadelphia that the 600 men and women of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office will do everything we can to keep our city safe,” said Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams. “These organizational changes are a continuation of my ongoing effort to make this Office as impactful as it can be. Congratulations to these five Assistant District Attorney’s on their new positions and I thank them in advance for the good they and their teams will do.”

Ann Ponterio, Deputy of the Gun Trafficking, Public Nuisance Task Force and Community Engagement Division – ADA Ponterio began her career in the Office in 1984 and has spent the last 32-years of her career prosecuting cases starting in Municipal Court and continuing through Juvenile, Major Trials, Rape and the Homicide Units of the DAO. Ann has tried over 100 homicide and rape jury trials and was appointed Chief of the Homicide Unit in 2010. While Chief of the Homicide Unit, she supervised the Gosnell investigation and was appointed Deputy of Investigations in 2012.

Curtis Douglas, Deputy of the Investigations Division – Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Douglas began his career in 1980 as an IRS Special Agent investigating complicated, white collar crimes. He joined the DAO in 1990 as an ADA prosecuting rape, murder, aggravated assault, robbery and drug trafficking cases. He left the Office to spend ten years at the U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuting Federal jury and bench trials. He returned to the Office in 2010 as the Deputy of the Investigations Division. Douglas was later appointed as the Deputy of the Gun Violence, Narcotics Trafficking and Community Engagement Division in 2013.

Brian Zarallo, Chief of Special Investigations – ADA Zarallo has been with the Office since September of 1997. After several years in the Major Trials Unit, Brian spent two years in the Investigations Division where he was cross-designated as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney prosecuting wire and bank fraud. Zarallo then worked in the Office’s Repeat Offenders Unit and was transferred in 2008 to the Homicide Unit where he served with distinction and was awarded the Roger King/Judy Rubino Award for Excellence in Homicide Prosecution in 2011. Zarallo was the Assistant Chief of the Homicide Unit in Nov. of 2012 until Jan. of 2016.

Yvonne J. Ruiz, Chief of the Insurance Fraud Unit – ADA Ruiz has more than 32-years of prosecutorial experience in the Office. Before being appointed as the Chief of the Insurance Fraud Unit, she had been assigned to the Investigations Division’s Economic and Cyber Crime unit since 2007 where she investigated and tried embezzlement cases. Previous to the Investigations Division, she was in the Trial Division, specializing in child homicide cases from 1994-2007. Yvonne has tried over 100 child abuse and homicide jury trials and was a supervisor in the Child Abuse Unit from 1992-94.

Harold “Rich” Bauer, Chief of the East Division – ADA Bauer has been with the Office since August of 2000. After being promoted through several trial units, Rich was transferred to the Repeat Offenders Unit in 2006 where he was assigned to East Division. In March of 2013, he was selected to serve as the Assistant Chief of the South Bureau. Later that year, he was selected to serve as the Chief of the Pretrial Unit and continued to run the Office’s Veterans Court program. In addition to his work in the DAO, Rich is a Major in the U.S. Army Reserve Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Through his work in the military, Rich has served as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for both the Western District of Texas and the District of New Jersey.

The above staffing changes began to be implemented in the DAO last month and are effective immediately.



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