Ex-City Worker Pleads Guilty to Cell Phone Scam

Here's the press release:


Philadelphia, March 25, 2010- City of Philadelphia Inspector General Amy L. Kurland, District Attorney R. Seth Williams and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey announced today that Mona Lamberson, a former Division of Technology employee who stole 28 City cell phones and rented them out for cash, pleaded guilty in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court today.

Lamberson, 53, of North Philadelphia, was arrested in October 2009 after a joint OIG-District Attorney’s Office investigation found that she had stolen the phones and distributed them to friends, family and eight City employees.

In exchange for a cash kickback, Lamberson allowed the renters to rack up more than $30,000 in City phone charges. The loss to the city would have been $134,668 if city rates and discounts had not applied.

Lamberson pleaded guilty to third-degree felony theft along with misdemeanor charges of obstruction and misuse of public property. Common Pleas Court Judge Karen Shreeves-Johns sentenced Lamberson to five years’ probation and ordered her to pay $30,400.75 in restitution to the City.

Lamberson said that she would try to repay the City $5,000 in her first month of probation and return the rest as soon as possible. Her defense attorney, Tariq Karim El-Shabazz, will ask to reduce her probation to three years if she makes full restitution within that time frame.

“While most City workers are ethical, this arrest should send a message that misconduct will not be tolerated,” Kurland said.