Philly Judge Admits He Lied to the FBI

"Justice" engraved on Philadelphia's City Hall

“Justice” engraved on Philadelphia’s City Hall. Photo | Jeff Fusco

Municipal Court Judge Joseph O’Neill admitted today he lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation during an investigation into wrongdoing in the courts. He pleaded guilty to making false statements during the federal corruption investigation.

O’Neill, 65, admitted that he lied to the FBI on two occasions when they investigated former Judge Joseph C. Waters Jr. earlier this decade. Waters abruptly resigned his position and pleaded guilty to fraud in September 2014.

During that investigation, investigators twice asked O’Neill if Waters communicated with him about a case involving Donegal Investment Properties. The owner of Donegal was Sam Kuttab, an ally of Waters, and the FBI had intercepted a conversation where Waters asks O’Neill to “take a hard look at it.” Kuttab pleaded guilty last year. Read more »

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 »

Closing Arguments in Narcotics Cops Trial


The federal trial of six Philadelphia narcotics officers accused of corruption is coming to a close; attorneys began their closing arguments on Tuesday, and the jury is expected to begin deliberations on Thursday.  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]

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