FBI Raids Sheriff’s Office With Focus on “Unknown Real Estate Dealings”

foreclosure chart

RealtyTrac graphic of foreclosure rates

RealtyTrac released its July 2013 foreclosure market report today, and Philadelphia County’s foreclosure’s are down by 2 percent. That’s meager comfort for those disturbed by the news that the FBI raided the very office responsible for handling those foreclosures: the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office. According to Action News, agents served a subpoena this morning at 9 a.m., with investigators focusing on “unknown real-estate dealings in the Sheriff’s Department.”

There have been a lot of unknowns in that department for years. After current Sheriff Jewell Williams replaced former corrupt Sheriff John Green two years ago, there was a complacency halo effect. But a memo included in budget hearing proceedings this year included some bizarre information highlighted by reporter Isaiah Thompson at AxisPhilly.

Here’s the part of the memo that Thompson brought to light:

Note: the Sheriff has no accounting system. We are currently installing one. The figures come from the check writing system and therefore may overstate the payments due to voided checks.

Thompson wrote in a subsequent piece:

AxisPhilly has now found that even while ostensibly cleaning house under the interim leadership of acting sheriff Barbara Deeley, the Sheriff’s Office also entered into no-bid contracts with new politically connected companies – one linked to a major political corruption indictment, another owned by former Sheriff’s Office employees, another whose owners have made significant political donations, and another that appears to have almost no public record of its existence at all.

Could this be what motivated an FBI search warrant? We’ll have more information as the story develops. Meanwhile, here is some foreclosure data for our area: