Former Philadelphia Sheriff John Green Indicted in Fraud Conspiracy

Feds say he received gifts, hidden campaign donations and assistance buying a Florida retirement home to steer foreclosure business to James Davis.

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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:

• Bought and renovated a home in Mount Pleasant, then sold it to Green at a loss.

• Hired Green’s wife as a subcontractor to find employees for the Davis’s companies.

• Made $210,000 in hidden donations to Green’s 2007 re-election campaign.

• Gave Green more than $320,000 in gifts and interest-free loans to help Green purchase his Florida retirement home.

The result? “No other vendors were allowed to bid and compete against defendant James Davis’ companies for the services that it provided the (sheriff’s office) related to the sale of properties at Sheriff’s sales,” the indictment says.

Green allegedly failed to properly disclose the gifts and other inducements. Davis faces the same charges as Green, as well as two counts of filing a false tax return and three counts of willful failure to file a tax return.

The indictment suggests that the scheme even played into Green’s line of succession: Barbara Deely, who served out the remainder of Green’s term, and Jewell Williams, who currently holds the office, are mentioned only by their initials and the roles they held. The indictment says the three agreed Green would retire before his term expired, Deely would become acting sheriff — while keeping the contracts and business in Davis’s hands — and that Williams would run for sheriff in the next election. The indictment says Davis then had an associate make a $1,000 contribution to Williams’ campaign fund.

In or about 2010, defendant JOHN GREEN, defendant JAMES DAVIS, and J.W. and B.D., persons known to the grand jury, agreed that defendant GREEN would retire before his term expired, B.D. would become the Acting Sheriff in the interim, B.D. would keep the contracts and business that defendant DAVIS’ companies Reach/RCS had with the PSO, and J.W.

Authorities are seeking to seize $7 million in property from Davis and Green. If convicted, Green faces up to 85 years in prison; Davis could receive up to 94 years in prison. Green is expected to make an appearance in federal court at 1:30 p.m. today.

See the indictment below.

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