Feds: Philly Municipal Court Judge Lied to FBI

Chris Potter | Wikimedia Commons

Chris Potter | Wikimedia Commons

Federal prosecutors have charged a Philadelphia municipal court judge with lying to investigators in a corruption case.

The indictment (see below) against Judge Joseph O’Neill, 65, says a fellow judge, Joseph C. Waters Jr., tried to influence him in a small claims civil case against an ally of Waters’, Samuel Kuttab. (Prosecutors say Kuttab asked Waters to use his influence in exchange for political support.) Read more »

Former Philadelphia Sheriff John Green Indicted in Fraud Conspiracy

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Former Philadelphia Sheriff John Green has been indicted on federal charges that while he was in office, he took gifts, hidden campaign donations and even help obtaining a Florida retirement home to steer foreclosure sales to a favored vendor.

The indictment — for conspiracy and four counts of honest services fraud — was announced Friday morning. Also indicted: James Davis, 65, of Wyncote, Pennsylvania, accused of providing Green with the inducements to steer the business his way. Green, now 68, currently lives in Kissimmee, Florida. He was sheriff in Philadelphia from 1988 to 2010, stepping down mid-term after coming under criticism for financial irregularities in the office.

According to the indictment, Davis was the owner of two companies: A PR firm, Reach Communications Specialists, and a title search and settlement company, RCS Searchers, Inc. A good chunk of the combined company’s business was assisting Green’s office in making foreclosure sales.

To procure that business, Davis allegedly: Read more »

The Philadelphia Outrage Meter for the Week Ending October 24

70% of the week’s outrage was directly attributable to the bracelet bribery scandal, with 20% of the outrage directed at the existence of the alleged bribe and another 50% at the fact that the judge is alleged to have been bought off so cheaply. After all, $2,000 doesn’t get you very far at Tiffany & Co. We would have held out for something more along the lines of this.

Meanwhile, 29% of the outrage was over someone calling Bill Cosby a rapist. And the remainder of the outrage — fully 1% — was over the idea that our beloved Dr. Huxtable-playing, Jello Pudding Pop-pushing, funny sweater-wearing Temple lover could even possibly, you know, be a rapist.

Philadelphia Judge Joseph C. Waters Jr. Pleads Guilty to Federal Corruption Charges


[UPDATE] According to an information (read the full document below) released by the U.S. Department of Justice, as expected, former municipal court judge Joseph C. Waters, who resigned his position yesterday, has pleaded guilty to charges of mail fraud and honest services wire fraud.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office issued the following release:

“Joseph C. Waters, Jr., 61, of Philadelphia, pleaded guilty today to using his judicial position to influence the outcome of two cases in the Philadelphia Municipal Court, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. Waters, a former Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge, pleaded guilty to an information charging mail fraud and honest services wire fraud.

Read more »

Korean Bribes Helped Build Convention Center, Feds Say

Yesterday, the Department of Justice announced it had seized $500,000 from former South Korean president Chun Doo-hwan. Obviously, there is a Philadelphia connection: The money seized from Chun was bribe money laundered through the Convention Center expansion.

Chun was South Korea’s president in the 1980s and owes the country $143.5 million from corruption during his time in office. He’s considered the country’s last military strongman. He was sentenced to death in the 1990s, but it was commuted.

Read more »

Matt Swartz’s Probation Officer Works for Him at Farmers’ Cabinet


The woman you see in this photo is named Christina Quartullo. She is a waitress at Logan, the bar recently opened at 20th and Arch by Farmers’ Cabinet owner Matt Swartz. She was working there on Wednesday night. Quartullo also works weekends at the Farmers’ Cabinet. But her day job is as a probation officer for the City of Philadelphia, and one of her probationers is, yep, Matt Swartz. Read more »

Vince Fumo Throwing Himself a Giant Party

Ah, you gotta love Philly. A little more than a month since returning home from a four year stint in a federal prison in Kentucky, Vince Fumo is hitting the social circuit. Or rather, he’s hosting it.

Former State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo has invited many of his former staff members to his home for what is described as a social gathering on Sunday, Sept. 22. Invitations by telephone and e-mail have been extended to former Fumo aides in his Philadelphia and Harrisburg offices, recipients confirmed Thursday.

And many of those aides still work in state politics–four of them in the office State Sen. Larry Farnese, who replaced Fumo. That’s the angle this morning’s Inquirer story focused on. But it’s hard to get too worked up about that, considering what their former boss got in trouble for. When it comes to scandaling us over something Fumo-related, the bar has been set pretty high. [Inquirer]

Fumo Family Feud: Vince Fumo Sounds Like A Terrible Father Edition

We’ve got another nominee for “Worst Father in Philadelphia“! In court testimony yesterday at City Hall, Vince Fumo’s own kids laid bare the bitter feud between the imprisoned Democratic power broker and his family. The rift centers on who controls a $2.5 million trust fund Fumo set up for his children, Allison and Vincent Jr., in 2006. Ever since Fumo borrowed money from the fund in 2009, he’s become increasingly determined to plunder all of it, appointing personal cronies as trustees, according to Allison, who sued for control of the trust last year.

“I don’t trust my father, unfortunately,” Allison Fumo, 23, testified. Her brother, Vincent E. Fumo, 44, said much the same. He said his father wanted to win “at all costs” – even if it meant draining every dollar from a $2.5 million trust fund set up for him and his sister.

For more on an earlier, different-but-also-sordid Fumo family feud, check out Jason Fagone’s Philly Mag piece from 2008. [Inquirer]

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