By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Corruption in the Philadelphia Sheriff’s office leads to another guilty plea. Former Sheriff’s office auditor Richard Bell has admitted to fraud and filing a false tax return. It happened between 2007 and 2010.
Richard Bell, 36, has admitted he wrote over $400,000 in fraudulent checks to others outside the office and shared the money with them. Bell has also admitted to taking kickbacks for dealing three sheriffs sale properties at a fraction of the actual cost.
Federal prosecutor Sarah Grieb says, “They paid 10 percent at the Sheriff’s sale itself, which they paid, but when that person came back to pay the 90 percent that was owing, Mr. Bell took that check out before it was deposited into the bank account, and after it was registered as being paid.”
Three men, outsiders who conspired with Bell, pleaded guilty earlier (see related story). None of the defense attorneys, or the prosecutor, would comment whether any of the four men is cooperating. But some documents related to the plea deals have been sealed by the court.
Current sheriff, Jewell Williams, sworn in earlier this month, has vowed to clean up the office and restore public confidence (see related story).