On May 9, 2017, Philadelphia District Attorney Rufus Seth Williams was indicted in the District of New Jersey with 11 counts of travel and use of interstate facilities to promote and facilitate bribery contrary to Pennsylvania law, two counts of Hobbs Act extortion under color of official right, two counts of honest services wire fraud, 12 counts of wire fraud, and two counts of mail fraud.  The charges arise from Williams’ alleged use of political action committee funds, which may be used only in relation to political campaigns, on personal expenditures, which the government contends included dinner parties, massages, and gifts that were not connected to any election.  Williams also allegedly misused vehicles provided by local and federal grant programs.  The vehicles were intended to reduce drug trafficking and production in Philadelphia, but according to the indictment, Williams used them as his personal vehicles, allegedly directing that one of them be left at his home every night and taking them for personal trips with friends and family.  These charges are in addition to a prior indictment in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, alleging bribery, extortion, and honest services fraud.  In a related case, on May 11, 2017, Mohammad N. Ali pled guilty in the District of New Jersey to one count of using facilities in interstate and foreign commerce to promote bribery in violation of Pennsylvania law and one count of federal tax evasion based on his involvement in one of Williams’ alleged bribery schemes.  Ali admitted to providing trips, gifts, and money to Williams in exchange for Williams’ help with avoiding security screenings when Ali returned from traveling abroad and with criminal charges brought against an associate of Ali’s.  Williams purportedly talked to police and offered to pressure another public official to help Ali with security screenings.  Ali also admitted to failing to report $246,504 in taxable income. United States v. Williams, Criminal No. 17-137-PD (D.N.J.); United States v. Ali, 17-cr-215-PD (D.N.J.).

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