Acting New Jersey U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced Tuesday a former Philadelphia District judge accepted tens of thousands of dollars in bribes for performing official acts.
Fifty-year-old Rufus Seth Williams accepted money, trips and other valuables agreeing to perform or performing official acts on behalf of Mohammad N. Ali from July 2010 through May 2015, according to court documents.
On one particular occasion, Williams pressured a Philadelphia police official into assisting Ali with security screenings at the airport. He also agreed to help with criminal charges brought by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office against Ali’s associate.
Williams accepted money, an automobile, airline tickets and other valuables from March 2012 through July 2015 from Michael Weiss for agreeing and performing official acts on his behalf. In November 2012, he appointed Weiss as Special Advisor to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office. He also wrote a letter to the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, in an attempt to influence a then-pending hearing to suspend or revoke Weiss’s liquor license.
Williams diverted his mother’s Social Security and pension payments to pay his personal expenses instead of paying the nursing home for her care. His mother’s friends gave Williams $10,000 to help cover his mother’s nursing home care. Instead of paying the nursing home, he spent the money on his personal expenses.
Williams utilized funds from “The Committee to Elect Seth Williams” for birthday dinners, fitness classes, parties and massages. To avoid detection, he provided incomplete and false reports to the City of Philadelphia and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Williams also utilized official vehicle for his personal benefit.
“In his position as Philadelphia’s District Attorney, Williams abused the trust placed in him by the public and today’s sentencing sends a clear message that such action will not be tolerated,” Acting IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Edward Wirth said in a statement. “Today’s sentencing is a direct result of the excellent partnership IRS-CI, our fellow law enforcement partners, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office have in combating violations of federal law.”