Former PHA Employee Charged in Fraud Conspiracy
|U.S. Attorney’s Office July 11, 2013|
PHILADELPHIA—Richard Lewis, 54, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was charged by indictment, unsealed today, with conspiracy to steal property from the Philadelphia Housing Authority, where Lewis was employed at the time, in the amount of approximately $348,910, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. Lewis was arrested this morning by the FBI.
According to the indictment, between September 2002 and July 2011, Lewis conspired with Richard Perri, Jaquel Crews, and Mark Miller, each charged elsewhere, and others known and unknown to the grand jury to purchase building materials with PHA funds, sell those materials at a discount, and conceal those fraudulent sales. Crews, Miller, and others ordered the building materials from Lewis, who then directed Perri—a materials coordinator for PHA—to purchase materials from Sawbell Lumber and Home Depot. Perri fraudulently disguised the purchases as for PHA use, submitted the bills to the PHA Accounts Payable Department for payment, and arranged for the fraudulently purchased materials to be delivered to private properties specified by Lewis, Crews, Miller, and others. Lewis and Perri were paid approximately 30 to 50 percent of the value of the materials by the purchasers, and they split those payments. The indictment further alleges that Lewis made false statements about the purchase of those materials to law enforcement officers and provided false information about his sales of those building materials.
If convicted, Lewis faces a maximum possible sentence of five years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General, and the PHA Police Department, with assistance from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney K.T. Newton.