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September 12, 2019

Former City Controller employee Jeffrey Blackwell federally indicted for fraud, bribery

Crime Fraud
federal courthouse Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

The James A. Byrne U.S. Courthouse for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania at Sixth and Market streets in Philadelphia.

Former City Controller employee Jeffrey Blackwell, grandson to late Rep. Lucien Blackwell and step-grandson of Councilmember Jannie Blackwell, has been indicted  on federal corruption, fraud, and bribery charges.

In an indictment unsealed Thursday, the U.S. Attorney's Office is alleging that Blackwell accepted more than $22,000 in bribes and kickbacks between 2013 and 2015 while working in the City Controller's office from individuals seeking permits and contracts. Blackwell worked in the office's investigative division.

He faces nine counts of wire fraud, one count of federal bribery, and two counts of filing a false tax return, according to the indictment. 

If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of more than 30 years. 

"My Office is committed to the fight against corruption: (I)f you are an elected official, a public official or a public employee and you debase yourself and your position and betray the public through corrupt acts, you will be prosecuted and jailed," U.S. Attorney McSwain said in an official statement. "And when doing your job, don't try to walk up to the line between corrupt and honest behavior.  Stay far away from that line. Instead, do your job honestly and faithfully every day in every possible way. That is what the public deserves."

McSwain's office noted that while Blackwell allegedly accepted the kickbacks, he rarely made good on providing the permits and city contracts the payments had been intended to secure.

The FBI and the IRS are among the agencies involved in the Blackwell investigation.

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