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Press Release

New Defendant Charged In Alleged Fraud On The Philadelphia Sheriff's Department

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

PHILADELPHIA - Gerard Joseph, 36 years old, of La Jolla, California, is charged by indictment1, unsealed today, with conspiracy and wire fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger.  Joseph was arrested last night.

Joseph was in the business of buying, renovating, and selling properties in the Philadelphia area.  According to the indictment, between 2007 and at least 2008, Joseph conspired with Richard Bell, charged separately, to purchase properties at Sheriff’s sale for ten percent of the sale price.  Joseph would pay the ten percent deposit on the day of the sale, and pay the remaining 90-percent within 30 days of the sale.  Bell, who worked in the accounting department, would remove the 90-percent payment before it was deposited into the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office bank account, thereby, allowing Joseph to buy the properties for ten percent of the sale price.  Joseph would then resell the properties at a profit and would pay Bell a fee.

Between April 2007 and November 2007, Joseph purchased approximately four properties at Sheriff’s sales through this fraudulent scheme and, in June 2008, he resold two of them receiving the profit that should have gone to the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office.

If convicted of all charges, Joseph faces a statutory maximum sentence of 60 years in prison, a fine of up to $750,000, full restitution, and three years of supervised release.  Bell pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, and the City of Philadelphia Office of Inspector General.  The City of Philadelphia Office of the Controller has also assisted the investigation.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sarah L. Grieb and Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Diviny.

Click here to view the indictment

1An Indictment or Information is an accusation.  A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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Updated December 15, 2014