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Controller Reports City Worker Violating Residency Rules

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Controller's Office Uncovers Dept. of Human Services Employee Violating City Codes & Tax Laws
Fraud & Special Investigations Unit discovers employee falsifying
residency and owing back taxes and unpaid water bills

PHILADELPHIA – As a result of an investigation conducted by the City Controller's Fraud & Special Investigations (FSI) Unit, a city Department of Human Services employee was found to be residing outside of the city, as well as owing almost $5,000 in back taxes and unpaid water bills.

While city personnel records indicate the DHS employee in question claims to reside in Philadelphia, the Controller's investigation determined that the employee actually lives in Montgomery County, Pa., in a home purchased by her and her spouse in 2001.

Commenting on his FSI Unit's discovery, City Controller Alan Butkovitz said, "My investigators are to be commended for uncovering this residency fraud, as well as for finding a city employee who owes back taxes and unpaid water bills."

"City employees residing outside of Philadelphia but claiming to have an in-city address are not only violating the City Code; they are also betraying the public's trust and lying to their employers," said Butkovitz.

Along with the falsification of her residency records, the employee owes $2,636 in delinquent property taxes and $2,083 for illegal water service at a North Philadelphia rental property she owns with her spouse.

The investigation found that the employee commuted to work daily from a SEPTA regional rail station in Montgomery County. In addition to receiving her mail at the Montgomery County address, the employee was routinely seen driving a vehicle that was registered there and a number of court filings and insurance claims all used the same Montgomery County address.

Investigators from the Controller's FSI Unit never observed the DHS employee at the Philadelphia property location. City records indicate a rental license on file for the property, but it expired in 2008. The local branch of the U.S. Post Office confirmed mail delivery to this address for four individuals other than the DHS employee. Based on interviews with neighbors and city and postal records, investigators were left with the impression that the property was an unlicensed, multi-person rental unit.

Another finding included a forged public document that was used to account for the employee's lateness.

The Controller's FSI Unit has provided both the District Attorney's Office and the Department of Human Services with its findings.
The Controller's FSI Unit coordinates and conducts investigations in response to tips and other allegations that indicate fraud in city contracts, alleged misconduct by city employees, worker injury abuse, enforcement of the residency requirement, and conflicting employment issues. If warranted, FSI findings are referred to the U.S. Attorney and/or the Office of the District Attorney for prosecution.