Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Ex-cop convicted of lying to feds

Philadelphia Police Department

A former Philadelphia Police Department narcotics officer was convicted Friday of lying to federal investigators about his romance with a confidential informant.

Robertito Fontan, 42, in 2003 recruited the informant, who was facing felony drug trafficking charges at the time. According to an indictment handed down in December 2012, Fontan met the woman inside a Court of Common Pleas courtroom and told her he could help her with her drug case. He then introduced the woman to other officers and suggested she could work as a confidential informant.

Prosecutors said Fontan and the informant several months later became intimate. During the course of their relationship, Fontan gave the woman cash and gifts, including a nearly $2,300 trip to Disney World.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in 2007 began investigating the informant's former paramour, a reputed drug dealer who fathered her adolescent son. Fontan, who assisted with the investigation, is accused of tipping off the woman to the indictment. Prosecutors said the woman on several occasions passed information about the pending charges onto her ex.

The FBI the next year launched an inquiry into a suspected information leak in the DEA investigation. Agents as part of the investigation interviewed Fontan, who denied he'd been romantically involved with or divulged information to the informant.

A grand jury indicted Fontan on three counts of making false statements to federal investigators. He was suspended from the force for 30 days with the intent to dismiss. A jury on Friday returned a guilty verdict in the case.

Fontan faces a maximum prison term of 10 years.  He is scheduled to be sentenced during a hearing April 28.

Contact Alex Wigglesworth at 215-854-2305 or awigglesworth@philly.com. Follow @phila_lex on Twitter.

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

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