Former Philadelphia Police Officer Sentenced to Prison for Fraud and Ordered to Forfeit Over $653,000 in Ill-Gotten Gains
PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Victor Gates, 72 of Philadelphia, PA, a retired 30-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department, was sentenced today to serve 40 months in prison, followed by two years’ supervised release, and to pay a $15,000 fine. Gates was also ordered to forfeit $653,319.10 in proceeds from his crimes. The sentence was imposed by the Honorable Wendy Beetlestone of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Gates was convicted at trial of one count of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, fourteen counts of honest services mail fraud, and two counts of lying to federal investigators. The charges arose from Gates’s orchestration of a seven-year bribery scheme during which he paid a Philadelphia Police detective for special access to law enforcement databases in order to build up Gates’ lucrative towing business. The evidence at trial showed that Gates’s business made monthly bribe payments by check since at least May 2008. In total, Gates paid the detective $25,200 to abuse his access to law enforcement databases. The jury also found that during the investigation, Gates lied on two occasions to federal investigators about the corrupt arrangement.
“Through his corruption and criminality, Gates has disgraced himself, embarrassed his former colleagues, and corrupted a former police detective who viewed Gates as a mentor,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “The sentence imposed today should send a message that such corruption will be vigorously prosecuted and the offenders held to account, no matter who they are or what position they hold.”
“After 30 years on the force, Victor Gates knew well that bribing a police officer was an egregious crime,” said Michael T. Harpster, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Philadelphia Division. “Nonetheless, he stuck with his scheme, ensnaring a former colleague and ignoring all ethical boundaries in order to make a buck. What a shame. Know that the FBI will continue to tenaciously investigate such corruption, and bring those involved to justice.”
“While we are saddened that a former law enforcement officer has engaged in such egregious conduct, we certainly appreciate the efforts of our federal law enforcement partners in bringing Mr. Gates to justice,” said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross. “The investigation, arrest, and successful prosecution of Mr. Gates serves as an emphatic reminder that no one may operate outside the law, regardless of position or affiliations.”
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Affairs Division of the Philadelphia Police Department and was being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Eric L. Gibson.