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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Bucks County Public Officials Face Additional Charges

John I. Waltman, 59, of Trevose, Pennsylvania, Robert P. Hoopes, 70, of Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and Bernard T. Rafferty, 62, of Langhorne, Pennsylvania were charged in a Superseding Indictment[1] with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, three counts of money laundering, one count of honest services wire fraud, three counts of honest services mail fraud, and Hobbs Act extortion under color of official right, announced Acting United States Attorney Louis D. Lappen.

Hoopes was also charged with one count of witness tampering. In addition, the Superseding Indictment added Kevin M. Biederman, 34, who is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, three counts of money laundering, and one count of bank bribery.

From 2011 to December 2016, Waltman was a Magisterial District Judge in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. From February 2016 to December 2016, Hoopes was the Director of Public Safety in Lower Southampton, Pennsylvania. In this position, Hoopes had authority over all police, fire, and emergency operations in the township. Hoopes previously operated a legal practice in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. From 1998 to December 2016, Rafferty was a Deputy Constable in Bucks County. Rafferty controlled Raff’s Consulting LLC, a corporation registered with the Pennsylvania Department of State on May 30, 2011.

According to the Superseding Indictment, in November 2016, Waltman, Hoopes, and Rafferty accepted a bribe of $1,000, as well as the promise of other fees, in exchange for Waltman, Hoopes, and Rafferty to use their positions as public officials to “fix” a traffic case before Waltman in Bucks County Magisterial District Court. In January 2017, Hoopes allegedly tried to influence a witness to falsely testify before the federal grand jury regarding the disposition of this $1,000 bribe.

In addition, according to the Superseding Indictment, from June 2015 to November 2016, Waltman, Hoopes, Rafferty, and Biedmeran conspired to launder funds represented to be proceeds from health care fraud, illegal drug trafficking, and bank fraud. Moreover, from June 2016 to August 2016, Waltman, Hoopes, Rafferty, and Biederman laundered $400,000 in cash, represented to be proceeds from health care fraud and illegal drug trafficking, and took money laundering fees totaling $80,000 in cash.

Further, according to the superseding indictment, in June 2015, Biederman, who was then an employee of Philadelphia Federal Credit Union (“PFCU”), solicited and accepted a bribe of $1,600 in exchange for agreeing to influence PFCU’s approval of a loan.

“As alleged in today’s superseding indictment, we have uncovered another instance of public officials -- who should be serving the public good -- subverting justice in order to serve themselves,” said Acting United States Attorney Louis D. Lappen. “Our office is committed to investigating and prosecuting public corruption cases at every level. In addition, we will continue to hold accountable anyone who attempts to improperly influence the federal grand jury process or the testimony of witnesses.”

"They must've thought they had a pretty good thing going," said Michael Harpster, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Philadelphia Division. "As alleged in the indictments, these three public officials padded their income with ease, turning a tidy profit as part-time money-launderers. Ostensibly in the service of drug dealers and other crooks, they took steps to conceal the origins of piles of 'dirty money.' Add the allegations of bribery, extortion, witness-tampering -- and you've practically got a playbook of the varied ways to violate the public trust. The FBI is committed to investigating public corruption cases, and bringing corrupt officials to justice."

“The laws of the land apply to everyone, even public and banking officials. The public place a great deal of trust in these officials, and that trust is broken when they commit crimes,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Acting Special Agent in Charge Gregory Floyd. "Today's superseding indictment again emphasizes IRS, Criminal Investigation, FBI, HSI and the U.S. Attorney’s office will continue their aggressive pursuit of public and banking officials who use fraudulent methods in an attempt to corrupt our nation."

"Homeland Security Investigations is pleased to have teamed with our federal and local law enforcement partners to hold accountable public officials who betray the trust of the community they are sworn to serve by engaging in criminal behavior. The public places an enormous amount of trust in public officials and activities like those allegedly committed by the defendants in this case erodes the fabric of public trust," said Marlon V. Miller, special agent in charge of HSI Philadelphia. "HSI special agents will continue to vigorously pursue those who think the law does not apply to their criminal acts."

If convicted, Waltman and Rafferty each face a maximum possible sentence of 180 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $2.25 million fine, and a $900 special assessment.

If convicted, Hoopes faces a maximum possible sentence of 200 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $2.5 million fine, and a $1,000 special assessment.

If convicted, Biederman faces a maximum possible sentence of 110 years in prison, five years of supervised release, a $2 million fine, and a $500 special assessment

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Pennsylvania State Police. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Vineet Gauri.

 

[1] An Indictment, Information, or Criminal Complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed

innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 

Topic(s): 
Public Corruption
Updated August 1, 2017