A former Philadelphia Housing Authority worker was arrested Thursday on charges he conspired to use agency money to buy building materials then sold them privately at a steep discount, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Richard Lewis, 54, of Philadelphia became the fourth person to be charged in the scheme, which prosecutors said ran from 2002 to 2011. Lewis was indicted while Richard Perri, who was a PHA materials coordinator, was charged through an information last year, a step usually reserved for defendants who intend to plead guilty.
On dozens of occasions, the indictment says, Perri and Lewis arranged for materials to be bought from Home Depot and Sawbell Lumber with PHA funds. They allegedly sold the material at a steep discount to two others, Jacquel Crews and Mark Miller, and split the proceeds.
Perri and Lewis netted $348,000 in the scheme, according to the indictment.
The FBI probe goes back at least three years; agents picked up Lewis Thursday. After a brief hearing before a federal magistrate judge, he was released on his own recognizance, prosecutors said.Neither he nor his attorney, Arnold Silverstein, could be reached for comment, and a PHA spokeswoman also could not be reached.