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December 18, 2015

Feds indict former Philadelphia sheriff in fraud conspiracy

John Green allegedly accepted hidden benefits

Courts Indictments
12182015_sheriff_john_green_YT ReachInc/YouTube

Former Philadelphia Sheriff John Green.

Former Philadelphia Sheriff John Green was indicted Friday for allegedly participating in a fraud conspiracy in which the companies of a Montgomery County man were given nearly exclusive control of work connected to court-ordered property sales.

Green, 68, of Kissimmee, Florida, was charged with conspiracy and four counts of honest services fraud involving the Sheriff's Office. James Davis, 65, of Wyncote, Montgomery County, also was charged for his alleged role in the scheme, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia said.

Green is scheduled to appear in court at 1:30 p.m. Friday, the office said.

READ: The indictment of John Green and James Davis

Davis was the co-owner of Reach Communications Specialists, an advertising and public relations firm, and RCS Searchers Inc., a title search and settlement company, both located in Philadelphia, according to the indictment.

Green gave Davis' companies hidden contracts, business and fees from the real estate sales conducted by the Sheriff's Office from 2002 to 2010, prosecutors allege. Davis allegedly provided Green more than $530,000 in hidden personal benefits. Davis also handled advertising for Green's 2007 re-election campaign.

The Nutter administration sued Green, Davis and six others in 2013, claiming they improperly diverted millions of dollars from city sheriff sales.

In addition to receiving the same charges as Green, Davis also was charged with two counts of filing a false tax return and three counts of willful failure to file a tax return.

Green allegedly received $210,000 in hidden payments to his 2007 re-election campaign and $320,000 in gifts and interest-free loans for Green's retirement home in Florida, the indictment said. Davis also allegedly bought and renovated a Philadelphia home, which was sold to Green at a loss.

No other vendors were permitted bid against Davis' companies for the servies they provided the Sheriff's Office related to Sheriff's sales, according to the indictment. Green allegedly expanded the scope of services provided by Davis' companies and paid for them out of the Sheriff's sales proceeds. Those proceeds are entitled to distressed property owners after the satisfaction of liens and other costs.

Davis also allegedly was permitted to place friends and family members of the Sheriff's Office staff.

Prosecutors allege that Davis falsely filed a $146,669 business loss for on his 2007 federal income tax return for Reach Communications and a false taxable income of $408,072 on his 2007 individual income tax return. He also allegedly filed false tax returns in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Green faces a maximum prison sentence of 85 years and a possible fine, if convicted. Davis faces a maximum prison sentence of 94 years and a possible fine. The indictment also includes a notice of forfeiture seeking $7 million and property from the pair.