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Press Release

Next Step Recovery Owner Pleads to Distributing Heroin to His Rehab Clients and Preparing False Returns for Customers of His Tax Firm

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

PITTSBURGH – David Francis of McKees Rocks, PA, pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin. He also waived prosecution by indictment and entered a plea of guilty to a five-count Information charging him with assisting in the filing of fraudulent federal income tax returns, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Francis, 69, pleaded guilty to one drug count and five tax counts before United States District Judge Joy Flowers Conti.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Francis was the owner and operator of Next Step Recovery Housing, LLC, a purported drug rehabilitation center, located in McKees Rocks, PA. While operating Next Step Recovery Housing, the defendant also conspired to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin with suppliers from New York City from November 2016 through February 2017. Francis redistributed the heroin that he obtained from the New York suppliers to his own customers, many of whom were current or former clients of Next Step Recovery Housing. During the same timeframe, Francis was also the owner and operator of All Personal Matters, an income tax return preparation business. Through All Personal Matters, Francis aided in the preparation and filing of fraudulent federal income tax returns on behalf of clients of All Personal Matters, resulting in a loss to the Internal Revenue Service of $1,681,607.54.

Judge Conti scheduled sentencing for November 4, 2020. For the drug charge, the law provides for a total sentence of not less than five years and not more than 40 years in prison, a fine of not more than $5,000,000, or both. For the tax charges, the law provides for a total sentence at each count of not more than three years in prison and a fine of not more than $250,000. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history of the defendant.

Pending sentencing, the court continued the defendant’s detention.

Assistant United States Attorney Tonya Sulia Goodman is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Monroeville Police Department, Stowe Township Police Department, Ingram Borough Police Department, Pennsylvania State Police, and Monaca Police Department conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Francis.

Updated July 1, 2020

Drug Trafficking