Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Roundup

A weekly tab of what's
going on in the courts.

By Shealyn Kilroy
For BigTrial.net


Philadelphia District Attorney:

Joyce Levitt
Joyce Levitt is charged with theft, fraud, and related charges for embezzled $200,000 from Visit Philadelphia after she turned herself in on March 16, the District Attorney’s office announced. Levitt, 61, had been overseeing the finances for seven years of Chief Financial Officer of Visit Philadelphia, a tourism agency that promotes travel in and around the city. VP receives 18 percent of hotel tax, so Levitt stole taxpayer dollars. Philadelphia taxpayers, want to know where your money was going? You were funding Levitt’s skin treatments, quenching her palette at high-end restaurant meals, taking her shopping at BJ’s and Costco and keeping her warm with fur from New York. The investigation began in August 2014. A date for a preliminary hearing not yet been scheduled.

Juan Reyes claimed the 36 birds in his possession are his pets.
Juan Reyes / NBC Philadelphia
Reyes, charged with cruelty to animals, was scheduled for preliminary hearing on March 16, according to the District Attorney’s office. Reyes, 31, was arrested on March 2 in connection with this charge. However, Reyes was one of  thirteen defendants who pleaded guilty for a role in a cockfighting match in Feltonville in 2009. Reyes and the other defendants received five years probation were forced to pay $500 to the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Darryl Cathey
Philadelphia Police Officer Darryl Cathey was scheduled for trial on March 14, according to the District Attorney’s office. This is the second time Cathey, 26, has been in trouble with the cops during his six years with the force. Cathey is in court now because he’s charged with aggravated assault, resisting arrest, DUI and other offenses. Cathey was driving a marked police car with three flat tires at 12:30 a.m. on March 28, 2015.
 According to phillymag.com, a supervisor talked to Cathey and smelled alcohol on his breath. When the police were bringing Cathey into custody, he allegedly assaulted one of the officers. The first time Cathey got into trouble while on the force was in 2011. Cathey was charged with assaulting his ex-girlfriend, but prosecutors withdrew the charges after Cathey failed to show up in court four times. Philly.com has a list from 2014 of cops who were charged with abuse only for the charges to disappear.
U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania:
Daniel Sheehan / NJ.com
Two friends were charged in a scheme to steal money from worried homeowners on March 18, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Daniel Sheehan, 41, of Gloucester City, NJ, and John Hoban, 42, of Bellmawr, NJ, allegedly promised over 110 homeowners that they would aid them in their mortgages for amounts up to $400,000. Between September 2012 and February 2015, Sheehan, a mortgage modifying professional,  allegedly gave clients a new mortgage until their loan paperwork arrived. Hoban, allegedly acting as a bank representative, would deceive clients by telling them that everything was going smoothly on the bank’s end. Sheehan allegedly never filed the paperwork, and then stole the new mortgage payments for his own benefit. 

One victim of the scheme was receiving foreclosure notices. Sheehan allegedly told the victim that she could get aid with a new representative in a new mortgage. Hoban allegedly came in to play at this point,  posing as that  bank representative and  convincing the homeowner that the foreclosure notice would be “frozen” and that she would receive a packet from the new bank in 30 days.  No paperwork, however, had ever been filed to help the homeowner.
“This type of mortgage fraud is very personal.” said U.S. Attorney Zane Memeger in the press release. “The defendants cheated their homeowner victims out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by preying on their emotional and financial vulnerabilities.”

The pair is charged with wire fraud conspiracy and eight counts of wire fraud.  Sheehan is additionally charged with 18 wire fraud counts and one count of interstate transport of stolen property. The two could each  spend 20 years in prison for these charges if found guilty.
Riverside Correctional Facility / Phila.gov
Former prison guard Joseph Romano was sentenced on March 14 to 30 months for smuggling contraband into prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Romano, 31, was charged with attempted extortion which interfered with interstate commerce and two counts of attempted distribution of controlled substances. The prison guard worked at Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center and Riverside Correctional Facility. In exchange for $1,000, Romano agreed to meet with the prisoner’s dealer to pick up and deliver OxyContin to the prisoner. Romano met with the dealer in multiple locations in Philadelphia, received the drugs and cash, and then smuggled it passed prison security to give to the inmate. In addition to the prison sentence, the judge ordered a $1,000 fine, three years of supervised release, and a $200 special assessment.
U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey:
Former music school teacher Cliff Ramsay pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography on March 16, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. Ramsay, 30, of Raritan worked at Readington Middle School on during the time he was accessing child pornography. On Feb. 25, 2015, and Feb. 27, 2015, Ramsay visited a child pornography website. A search warrant was executed on his home on July 28, 2015, and authorities found child pornography on his computer. Ramsay could face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for July 6, 2016. Shealyn can be reached at shealyn@bigtrial.net

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