Ex-L&I official charged with extortion

A former high-ranking deputy commissioner of Philadelphia's Department of Licenses and Inspections has been charged with using his official position to coerce bar and restaurant owners to buy beer from a distributor he co-owned in return for favorable treatment from L&I. 

Dominic Verdi, 58, of Philadelphia, was a co-owner of "Chappy's Beer, Butts and Bets," said U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger. Chappy's is a South Philadelphia beverage distributor on South 17th Street near Girard Estates.

According to prosecutors, Verdi also lied to investigators from the city's Inspector General's office to conceal his ownership interest in Chappy's. At the same time, Verdi was also a member of the Philadelphia Public Nuisance Task Force. 

Verdi was indicted today on charges of conspiracy, Hobbs Act extortion, and honest services fraud. He faces a possible sentence of 140 years in prison and a $1.75 million fine if convicted on all counts.  

The case was investigated by the FBI with assistance from the city's Office of the Inspector General.  It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David L. Axelrod.

Contact Sam Wood at 215-854-2796 or samwood@phillynews.com. Follow @samwoodiii on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443; BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillynews on Twitter.