Bucks judge, public safety director and a deputy are charged with money laundering
Three officials from Bucks County — a district judge, a township's safety director and a deputy constable — have been indicted on federal charges of conspiracy and money laundering, prosecutors announced Friday.
According to the indictment, the trio were trapped in a sting operation during which they laundered $400,000 in cash that undercover law enforcement officials and a confidential witness told them were proceeds from white-collar fraud and drug trafficking.
For their efforts, they pocketed fees totaling $80,000, the indictment alleges.
John I. Waltman, 59, of Trevose, a district judge since 2011.
Robert P. Hoopes, 69, of Doylestown, the director of Public Safety in Lower Southampton since February.
Bernard T. Rafferty, 62, of Langhorne, a county deputy constable since 1998.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said that in his position, Hoopes has authority over all police, fire, and emergency operations in Lower Southampton and previously operated a legal practice in Doylestown.
Besides being a deputy constable, Rafferty controls Raff's Consulting LLC, a corporation registered with the state in 2011, the office said.
The sting operation was conducted by undercover officers and a confidential witness.
From June 2015 through November of this year, the defendants allegedly conducted three money-laundering transactions.
At one of those meetings, Hoopes' badge was visible on his belt, according to the indictment.
As part of the scheme, Hoopes, Rafferty, and Waltman obtained bogus legal and business documents that provided the cover for money laundering, prosecutors said.
During one transaction described in the indictment, Hoopes drove an unmarked Lower Southampton police car to an office building in Feasterville-Trevose carrying a check from Rafferty's consulting business in the amount of 80 percent of the cash, according to the indictment. The other two men waited outside in the unmarked police car.
In exchange for the check, undercover officers gave Hoopes a duffel bag filled with at least $100,000 in cash, prosecutors said.
Afterward, the men split their cuts and then deposited the remaining funds back into the Philadelphia bank account for Rafferty's business, prosecutors said.
As part of the conspiracy, the men allegedly attempted to broker the sale to the undercover officers of a bar in Feasterville-Trevose to be used to launder money. They asked for a broker's fee of at least 10 percent of the bar's sale price, according to the indictment.
The men also allegedly planned to obtain a sham default judgment in Bucks County court and fraudulently enforce the judgment to provide funds to launder bank-fraud proceeds from an overseas account.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Friday afternoon ordered Waltman suspended without pay pending the outcome of his criminal trial.
If convicted, each defendant faces a possible maximum prison term of 80 years and a $1 million fine, authorities said.