THREE Philadelphia men charged in a scheme to bilk the Sheriff's Department pleaded guilty in federal district court yesterday to wire fraud.
U.S. District Judge Legrome Davis set sentencing for Robert Rogers, 35; Reginald Berry, 29, and Jackie Wright, 29, in April.
They were charged in November.
A fourth defendant, Richard Bell, will plead guilty Jan. 17, according to the court records.
Bell worked in the sheriff's accounting department from November 2005, until he was fired on Nov. 30.
The feds said that from 2007 to 2010, Bell wrote $400,000 of bogus checks drawn on Sheriff's Office bank accounts made payable to unauthorized individuals and companies.
Bell then allegedly forwarded the checks to Rogers, who cashed them and forwarded others to Berry and Wright to cash or deposit.
Rogers gave two of the checks to Berry and Wright - one for $111,089 and the other for $36,466 - payable to a company connected to the two men.
Wright and Berry were able to withdraw proceeds from the $36,466 check, which they shared with Rogers, who in turn shared his proceeds with Bell, the government's plea memo said.
Wright was able to withdraw only $3,000 from the larger check because Bank of America became suspicious of the check and the Sheriff's Office subsequently froze the proceeds, the plea memo said.
Besides wire fraud, Bell also was charged with filing a false tax return for 2009 and failing to report more than $76,000 in income.