Bensalem investigation leads to arrest of 20 people in theft of more than $1.5 million www.privateofficer.com
Bensalem PA Feb 14 2013 A year-long corruption investigation culminated in the arrest of 20 people associated with the theft of more than $1.5 million from the Bensalem School District, police announced Tuesday morning.
Bensalem investigators made the arrests after they launched two separate investigations into alleged misdoings involving district staff. One investigation focused on “ghost employees,” the other on theft and illegal distribution of vehicles and related parts, township Public Safety Director Fred Harran said.
District Attorney David Heckler and Harran both said the investigation is not finished and more arrests are possible.
Jack Myers, the retired Bensalem School District business manager, was among those arrested in the corruption probe. He is charged with misapplication of entrusted property. Law enforcement said the 63-year-old Philadelphia resident knew of the many thefts occurring in the district and even participated in some of the activity.
The district’s current facilities manager, Robert Moseley, 61, of Bensalem was arrested and charged with misapplication of entrusted property for his part in the ghost employee investigation. In that case, police said multiple ground crew workers were getting paid for shifts they did not work. One employee did not report for work for up to three years, police said.
Head mechanic Fred Lange, 68, of Croydon was charged in August after it was uncovered he led the theft scheme being operated out of the bus garage, police said. Authorities called Lange the operations mastermind.
District mechanics Martin Chappell and Patrick Hammond were also arrested along with Lange.
Detectives told Patch that Chappell’s home garage was found to have a large surplus of vehicle parts suspected of being purchased with taxpayer money. One box of headlights was even addressed to the school district.
Hammond is suspected to have played a smaller role in the thefts. A search of his personal garage uncovered several small items believed to have been purchased using district funds.
One aspect of the crime involved ordering equipment through the district’s discounted consortium rates and then selling them out the figurative back door for less, keeping all the profits. Between nearly 7,000 bus tires and close to 2,200 batteries, the thieves are said to have swindled the district of over $1 million, police said. More money is alleged to have been spent on windshield wipers, oil filters and engine fluids, Harran explained during a late morning press conference.
Another angle involved Myers and Lange turning over the titles of 30 district buses, vans and pick-up trucks to Joel Zober, who owns a junkyard in Pipersville, police said. The vehicles were given to the junkyard and a group of classic car enthusiasts were able to pick other vehicles at the junkyard for free. Police called the group “The Breakfast Club,” due to their regular breakfast trips.
“All their people, their friends got to go to that junkyard and get parts free of charge,” Harran said. “There was a definite monetary value back.”
Harran called the group “very organized.”
Joseph Bound, owner of Bound Beverages on Bristol Pike in Bensalem, told police he bought items to maintain his vehicle fleet from Lange for the past 10 years. He said he paid cash for tires, synthetic transmission oil and transmission filters order by the school district, according to an affidavit.
“When gone unchecked for years, [the suspects] continued to do it. Those days are over,” Harran told reporters.
All of the suspects arrested on Wednesday were lead from the police station to District Justice Leonard Brown’s courthouse where they were arraigned.
Below is a list of the people arrested by authorities on Wednesday:
Current and Former District Employees
Former 28-year district business manager Jack Myers, 63, Hendrix Street, Philadelphia: misapplication of entrusted property
Facilities manager Robert Moseley, 61, Byberry Road, Bensalem: misapplication of entrusted property.
District bus mechanic Patrick Hammon, 53, of West Bensalem Avenue, Bensalem: theft and receiving stolen property
Mechanic Roland “Tex” Angle, 72, of Mildred Avenue, Bensalem: conspiracy, theft and receiving stolen property
Former Groundskeeper Supervisor Joseph Dyer, 43, of West Bensalem Avenue, Bensalem: theft and criminal conspiracy
Former Groundskeeper Shannon Dyer, 39, of West Bensalem Avenue, Bensalem: theft and criminal conspiracy
Groundskeeper Anthony Ruggiero, 38, of Ogden Avenue, Bensalem: theft and criminal conspiracy
Stolen Property Receivers and Distributors
William “Gill” Slowe, 73, of Crescent Avenue, Bensalem: criminal conspiracy, theft and receiving stolen property
Alfred Venturino, 59, of Fourth Avenue, Croydon: criminal conspiracy, theft and receiving stolen property
Robert Lord Sr., 64, of Dunksferry Road, Bensalem: criminal conspiracy, theft and receiving stolen property
Bound Beverages owner Joseph Bound, 65, of Ford Avenue, Middletown: criminal conspiracy, theft and receiving stolen property
Smith’s Auto Repair owner Elwyn Smith, 56, of Ritter Avenue, Bristol: criminal conspiracy, theft and receiving stolen property
Classic car club member William Klosz, 63, of Hawthorne Avenue, Bensalem: criminal conspiracy, theft and receiving stolen property
Classic car club member Leo Cannon, 65, of Hampton Court, Newtown: criminal conspiracy, theft and receiving stolen property
Classic car club member Wiliam O’Hara, 56, of Ash Avenue, Bensalem: criminal conspiracy, theft and receiving stolen property
Classic car club member Ronald Stoud, 69, of Cliff Road, Bensalem: criminal conspiracy, theft and receiving stolen property
Upper Bucks County junkyard owner Joel Zober, 70, of Magnolia Drive, Croydon: criminal conspiracy, theft and receiving stolen property
Tow truck operator Wilson Lopez, 29, of Lincoln Avenue, Bristol: criminal conspiracy, theft and receiving stolen property
Source: Bensalem Patch
Alon Davis-Cerdan, 21, of West Sharpnack Street, Philadelphia, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court on Thursday to 11 ½ to 23 months in the county jail, to be followed by three years’ probation, after he pleaded guilty to charges of retaliation against a witness, simple assault and terroristic threats in connection with the 12:30 p.m. Aug. 31, 2011, incident at the Willow Grove Park Mall in Abington. Authorities alleged Davis-Cerdan armed himself with a metal putty knife and chased another man who had previously been a witness against Davis-Cerdan during a Philadelphia court proceeding. Davis-Cerdan was on probation in Philadelphia stemming from the prior incident, testimony revealed.
During the chase through the mall, Davis-Cerdan “attempted to jump over a small child” and kicked the 7-year-old child in the head, “knocking him to the ground,” according to the arrest affidavit filed by Abington Police Officer Donald Lindenmuth. The child, police said, was transported to Abington Hospital for treatment of a minor contusion.
The simple assault charge to which Davis-Cerdan pleaded guilty, related to his contact with the child. While chasing the other man, Davis-Cerdan allegedly was yelling that he was going to kill the other man, according to the criminal complaint, which referred to witnesses’ observations.
“He’s certainly remorseful over what happened,” defense lawyer Francis Genovese said on Davis-Cerdan’s behalf. “They happened to run into each other at the Willow Grove Mall and some words were exchanged.”
Genovese implied Davis-Cerdan felt threatened by the other man during the heated argument.
“Which caused my client to pick up the putty knife off of a janitor’s cart that was in the mall. Then a chase through the mall ensued with further words being exchanged,” Genovese claimed. “Unfortunately, in the course of that chase, my client tried to hurdle a young child who I think was in a stroller and who got knocked to the ground.”
Mall security eventually quelled the situation, according to Genovese.
According to police, Christian Carithers, 26, of Welsh Road, Philadelphia, took $20,000 cash from the Shields Business Solutions armored car he was driving on April 13 and hid it in Cinnaminson, with the intention of picking it up later.
Before he could, authorities determined he had removed the cash and took him into custody. Carithers cooperated and led police to the spot where he’d stashed the cash.
He was charged with theft and released on a summons.
Shields Business Solutions is based in Moorestown, at 5 Twosome Drive.
The federal indictment says MultiEthnic Behavioral Health social workers routinely failed to make home visits while managers forged documents before city audits.
Andrea Kelly pleaded guilty in state court this week to third-degree murder in the 2006 death of her daughter Danieal (Dan-YELL). But prosecutors say MultiEthnic is also culpable for doing little or no work to protect her and other needy children like her.
The now-defunct company took in $3.7 million over four years to provide in-home services. Danieal’s case worker and a company founder are also charged in state court with involuntary manslaughter.
Eight employees of a social service agency have been indicted on federal charges of defrauding the City of Philadelphia and the federal government in a case linked to the starvation death of Danieal Kelly.
The indictment against the employees of MultiEthnic Behavioral Health, Inc. alleges they billed the city for services they falsely claimed they had provided.
The City’s Department of Human Services had hired MEBH to provide services for Danieal, and the firm’s failure to do so contributed to the death of 14-year-old cerebral palsey sufferer in 2006, U.S. Attorney Laurie Magid said in a statement announcing the indictment.
The indictment contains 12 counts of wire fraud and six counts of health care fraud as well as single counts of conspiracy to obstruct a federal investigation, providing a false statement to federal agents, and perjury.
Charged in the indictment are MEBH co-founders Mickal Kamuvaka, Solomon Manamela, Earle McNeill, and Manuelita Buenaflor; and emplpyees Julius Juma Murray, Miriam Coulibaly, Christiana Nimpson, and Sotheary Chan. A ninth worker, Patricia Burch, is charged with one count of perjury.
Danieal’s mother Andrea Kelly pleaded guilty Wednesday to third-degree murder charges in the girl’s death in exchange for a 20- to 40-year prison term.
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Reward offered in prisoner escape case http://www.privateofficer.com
The U.S. Marshals are offering the $6,000 reward, according to the supervisors of the Philadelphia Fugitive Task Force.
Police said 33-year-old Sylvester Mitchell — who is wanted for attempted murder in connection with a shooting outsode of a day care last June — knows how to hide from authorities.
He was on the run for more than a year until he was finally found in the Bahamas.
Police said two unarmed private security guards took another prisoner into the Philadelphia Police Department’s Central Detective Division early Thursday morning.
Police said Mitchell is dangerous. If you come in contact with him, you’re urged to call police.