A social worker for a now-defunct private nonprofit agency that was supposed to be looking out for Danieal Kelly - the 14-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who was starved to death in 2006 - pleaded not guilty in federal magistrate court yesterday to fraud and conspiracy charges.
Julius Juma Murray, 51, formerly of Upper Darby, had been assigned to the Kelly case, but prosecutors said that he and others helped create false records for Kelly's file to make it appear that the agency provided services to her and made visits to her home.
Murray worked for MultiEthnic Behavioral Health, Inc., which was paid more than $3.7 million by the city between July 2000 and December 2006 to provide in-home social services to needy and at-risk children.
Authorities said that MultiEthnic was a "money for nothing" enterprise.
Eight of the agency's employees were charged by a federal grand jury on May 1 with wire fraud, health-care fraud and conspiracy to obstruct a federal investigation.
A ninth employee, Patricia Burch, was charged only with lying to a federal grand jury.
Burch was arraigned before a federal magistrate yesterday, pleaded not guilty and was released on $25,000 unsecured bail.
Three others, including MultiEthnic Behavioral co-founder Mickal Kamuvaka, previously pleaded not guilty to the charges and were released on $25,000 unsecured bail with electronic monitoring.
Murray and Kamuvaka also have been charged by a Philadelphia grand jury with involuntary manslaughter and related offenses in connection with Kelly's death. No trial date has been set on the state charges.
Murray, a native and citizen of Sierra Leone, is in federal custody. He was arrested last August for making a false statement to federal immigration authorities when he applied to become a U.S. citizen in July 2007. (He has pleaded not guilty in this case.)
In his application, Murray denied that he had ever lied in applying for permission to enter the U.S. Murray said under oath in his citizenship interview that his citizenship application was true and correct.
Murray first entered the U.S. in 1992 on a nonimmigrant-visitor visa and later requested asylum. The request was denied in 1996 and he agreed to leave the U.S. in January 1997, when authorities began deportation proceedings.