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[November 28, 2012]
Feds: Water Dept worker scammed $1.3M [The Philadelphia Inquirer]
(Philadelphia Inquirer (PA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Nov. 28--For a mailroom worker whose job included stocking office supplies at the Philadelphia Water Department, this was a gusher of a scam.
Prosecutors on Wednesday said that the clerk, Calvin Duncan, bilked more than $1.3 million from the city since 2006 by filing bloated orders for ink and toner cartridges, then reselling the excess to an Arkansas printer supply company.
Duncan, 61, pocketed more than $545,000 in the scheme, while his cohorts, Derek and Anita Willis, got discounted ink they could resell at markup prices, according to a federal indictment returned against the trio.
Duncan even used a city UPS account to ship the stolen goods to the Willis' business in Russellville, Ark., prosecutors contend.
"The fraud alleged in this indictment cost the city crucial funds that might have benefitted the taxpayers in other ways," U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger said in a statement.
The city's Office of Inspector General launched the investigation in September 2011, and the FBI joined two months later.
"Collaboration is the key to fighting public corruption in Philadelphia," said Inspector General Amy Kurland. "Oftentimes, cases like this start with tips from City employees who have the courage to do the right thing." The indictment doesn't say how the probe started, or explain Duncan's ties to the Arkansas couple.
Each is charged with fraud and aiding and abetting. Derek Willis, 48, and his 34-year-old wife, face additional charges of obstruction and perjury for allegedly trying to destroy evidence and lying to the grand jury.
Agents arrested the couple on Wednesday. Duncan, described by prosecutors as a "former employee" is expected to surrender to authorities this week. He could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.
-- Contact John P. Martin at 215-925-2649, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or @JPMartinInky on Twitter.
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