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Press Release

Former City Employee Sentenced For Million Dollar Ink Cartridge Scam

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA – Calvin Duncan, 63, a former Philadelphia Water Department employee, was sentenced today to 24 months in prison and three years of supervised release for a scheme to defraud the City of Philadelphia of more than $1 million.  Duncan, of Philadelphia, worked as a mailroom clerk and was responsible for purchasing supplies, including printer ink and toner cartridges, for PWD’s administrative offices.  Between January 1, 2006 and January 5, 2012, Duncan ordered printer ink and toner cartridges, for which the City of Philadelphia paid approximately $1,368,091.19, falsely claiming that the cartridges were for PWD employees’ use.  Instead, Duncan sold the cartridges for approximately $545,412.79 and had them shipped to his co-conspirators using PWD’s UPS shipping account. Duncan pleaded guilty, on August 9, 2013, to five counts of mail fraud.


In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Jan E. DuBois ordered restitution in the amount of $1,368,091.19 and ordered forfeiture of $545,412.39.  Duncan’s co-conspirators, Derek and Danita Willis, who own Laser Cartridge Plus, Inc. in Russellville, Arkansas, pleaded guilty on April 29, 2014. Derek Willis was sentenced to 36 months in prison; Danita Willis was sentenced to 12 months and 1 day in prison.


Amy Kurland, Inspector General for the City of Philadelphia , testified at the sentencing hearing for Derek Willis and Danita Willis and described the harm as follows:

“The City of Philadelphia could have used that money for a number of things.  Approximately 500 students could have been educated.  Teachers could have been hired to educate that number of students.  That money would have funded the entire Fire Inspection Department at L&I for a year.  The money could have also been used for equipment, for body cameras for 200 officers. …When something like this happens, when people are able to steal that amount of money from the city, it makes the citizens lose confidence in government and lose confidence in the city’s ability to function appropriately.”


The investigation was initiated by the Philadelphia Office of the Inspector General and included the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tomika N. Stevens Patterson.

Updated June 9, 2015

Public Corruption