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November 23, 2021

Philly police dispatchers, clerk allegedly stole pandemic unemployment benefits

Commissioner Danielle Outlaw is expected to dismiss the employees

Investigations Fraud
Philly Police Pandemic Fraud Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Eight employees of the Philadelphia Police Department allegedly illegally obtained federal pandemic unemployment assistance while they were on the city's payroll. The employees, who now face federal charges, will be suspended and fired.

Eight employees of the Philadelphia Police Department are facing federal charges for illegally obtaining pandemic unemployment assistance when they were ineligible to receive it last year.

A collaborative investigation between the FBI, U.S. Department of Labor and the PPD's corruption task force uncovered the alleged fraud after discovering irregularities in November 2020, officials announced Tuesday.

Seven dispatchers and a civilian clerk allegedly filed for, received and spent pandemic unemployment assistance funds despite being employed and paid by the city of Philadelphia, investigators found.

The following employees were identified Tuesday after a grand jury returned indictments for their alleged crimes:

• Shannon Reynolds, 25
• Monica Pelzer, 45
• Yarelis Feliciano, 28
• Najah Harrell, 32
• Korey Kinard, 28
• Keely Maude, 23
• Tashika White, 50
• Paulette Johnson, 55

They each face charges of theft of government funds, wire fraud and mail fraud. Arrest warrants have been issued and the employees were expected to surrender to authorities Tuesday. The case will be reviewed by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

After the completion of the arrest procedures, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw is expected to suspend the eight employees with the intent to fire them in 30 days. and fire them at the end of 30 days.