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Press Release

Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Businessman Pleads Guilty To Bribing Philadelphia District Attorney And Tax Charge

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

PHILADELPHIA – An associate of Philadelphia District Attorney Rufus Seth Williams today admitted providing bribes to Williams and making and subscribing a false federal tax return, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.

Mohammad N. Ali, 40, of Feasterville, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Paul S. Diamond to an information charging him with one count of using facilities in interstate and foreign commerce to promote bribery in violation of Pennsylvania law and one count of federal tax evasion.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From July 2010 through May 2015, Ali provided a stream of bribes to Williams – which Williams concealed from timely public disclosure – in exchange for Williams performing and agreeing to perform official acts for Ali and to violate Williams’ legal duties as specific opportunities arose.

For example, Ali provided Williams with an all-inclusive vacation to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, worth $6,381, a custom sofa worth $3,212, a $502 dinner at a Philadelphia restaurant, a $7,000 check, approximately $2,000 in cash, a Louis Vuitton tie worth $205, an iPad worth approximately $300, a Burberry watch, and a Burberry purse for Williams’ girlfriend.

In exchange, Williams agreed to help Ali with security screenings when Ali returned from foreign travel. For example, on March 15, 2013, Ali met with Williams and a police official and Williams asked the police official to help Ali avoid secondary screening at the airport. That same day, Ali gave Williams a $7,000 check. Williams also repeatedly offered to write an official letter, under his authority as the District Attorney, on Ali’s behalf to pressure and advise another public official to assist Ali with the border encounters.

Ali also sought Williams’ assistance with criminal charges brought by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office against Ali’s associate, an individual identified in the information as “Person #1.”

Ali also admitted making and subscribing a false personal federal income tax return, which failed to report taxable income of approximately $246,504.

The bribery count is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison. The false tax return count is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of three years in prison. Each count carries a potential fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 24, 2017.

Williams is charged in a related superseding indictment. The charges and allegations against him are merely accusations, and he is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Acting U.S. Attorney Fitzpatrick credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael Harpster in Philadelphia; special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, Philadelphia Office, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Gregory Floyd, and special agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) Philadelphia, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Marlon V. Miller, with the investigation.

The U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania recused his office from the investigation involving the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, and the matter was assigned to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey. Two prosecutors from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania office were assigned to the case, subject to the supervision of prosecutors in the New Jersey office.

The government is represented by Deputy Chief Eric W. Moran of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark and Chief of Appeals Robert A. Zauzmer and Assistant U.S. Attorney Vineet Gauri of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia.

Defense counsel: Mark E. Cedrone Esq., Philadelphia

Updated May 11, 2017

Public Corruption
Press Release Number: 17-147