Philly DA federally indicted for 2nd time in 2 months, now faces 29 charges

Philly DA federally indicted for 2nd time in 2 months, now faces 29 charges
Corruption charges are stacking up against Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, who is alleged to have made personal use of government vehicles and his own elderly mother’s health funds in addition to dozens of other offenses.

Tuesday’s 11-count indictment against Williams, 50, mainly drew from two allegations: that he misused a fleet of government cars secured through federal grants as his own and misspent campaign funds on massages, facials and clothing at health spas and a social club in the city, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Some of the new charges supercede several of the 23 charges from another indictment in March, bringing Williams’ grand total of charges to 29. These include 11 counts of bribery, two of extortion, 14 of wire fraud and two of mail fraud, the US Department of Justice said in a statement.

Williams and his attorneys were prepared for a May 31 hearing on the original 23 charges, to which he has pleaded not guilty. However, it remains unclear how that will proceed since the case has now expanded.

The DOJ statement purports that Williams covered some of his own expenses from February 2012 to November 2013 with a relative’s pension and Social Security payments, as well as $10,000 donated by the relative’s friends for nursing home care. Local media reports that relative is his mother.

Local CBS-affiliate KYW and ABC-affiliate WPVI also reported that authorities believe Williams accepted more than $100,000 in gifts.

Williams, a Democrat, is serving his second term as Philadelphia’s top prosecutor, which pays $175,000 per year, but he is not seeking a third term.

The DOJ indictment “seeks forfeiture of a total of approximately $64,878.22, representing the sum of approximately $33,765.52 worth of bribe proceeds and approximately $31,112.70 worth of fraud proceeds.” It further states that each conviction under Pennsylvania’s Travel Act has a maximum prison sentence of five years, while the state’s Hobbs Act violations covering extortion and fraud carry maximum prison sentences of 20 years each.

“Each count carries a potential fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense,” the statement adds.