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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 29, 2018

Philadelphia-Area Businessman Sentenced To 18 Months In Prison For Bribing Former Philadelphia District Attorney, Tax Fraud

PHILADELPHIA – A Feasterville, Pennsylvania, man was sentenced today to 18 months in prison for bribing former Philadelphia District Attorney Rufus Seth Williams and evading taxes, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Mohammad N. Ali, 41, previously 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 making and subscribing to a false federal tax return. Judge Diamond imposed the sentence today in Philadelphia federal court.

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 a $7,000 check, an all-inclusive vacation to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, worth $6,381, a custom sofa worth $3,212, $2,679 in dinners at high-end Philadelphia restaurants, approximately $2,000 in cash, a $842 Burberry watch, a Louis Vuitton tie worth $205, an iPad worth approximately $300, 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.”

In addition, Ali used his business earnings to pay for over $490,000 in personal expenses, including $112,635 toward the purchase of a dental practice, $15,000 toward the purchase of a Porsche, purchases at clothing stores, meals at high-end restaurants, and domestic and international travel – including $6,300 for airfare and lodging for Williams and Williams’s girlfriend to stay at the Punta Cana resort. Ali fraudulently deducted these personal expenses on corporate income tax returns and did not report this income on his personal tax returns. In all, Ali caused a total tax loss of $163,498.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Diamond sentenced Ali to three years of supervised release, fined him $100,000 and ordered him to pay restitution of $63,498. Ali was immediately remanded to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons to serve his sentence.

Ali testified in June 2017 at Williams’ trial. On the ninth day of that trial, Williams entered a guilty plea to a charge of bribery and admitted that he committed all of the bribery and fraud offenses alleged in a 29-count indictment against him. Williams resigned as District Attorney at that time. He was sentenced to 60 months in prison on Oct. 24, 2017.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito 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 Edward Wirth, and special agents of Homeland Security Investigations (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 Eric W. Moran, Chief of the Criminal Division for the southern vicinages in the District of New Jersey, 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

Topic(s): 
Public Corruption
Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
18-124
Updated March 29, 2018