Feds: Philadelphia dispatcher gave crash info to tow truck operators for bribes
A Philadelphia emergency dispatcher is facing federal charges for allegedly taking cash bribes from tow truck operators in exchange for giving them locations of accidents and other information.
The three tow truck operators involved in the plot are also being charged, federal prosecutors said today.
Philadelphia police dispatcher Dorian Parsley, 44, was indicted on charges of conspiracy, bribery and honest services fraud. Also indicted were truck operators 24-year-old Stepfon Flowers, 42-year-old William Cheeseman and 22-year-old Chad Harris.
Prosecutors said Parsley used her job as a civilian dispatcher to give details like vehicle registration information and the locations of car crashes, disabled vehicles and police squad cars to the tow truck operators from February 2011 to December 2013.
In exchange, court documents say, the truck operators gave her cash bribes, each paying about $100 to $200 per week.
Flowers, an employee at K&B Auto Shop, allegedly paid her $100 to $150 a week over the nearly three-year stretch for the information.
Flowers also allegedly gave Parsley's contact information to his co-workers: Cheeseman, an owner of K&B Auto Body, and Harris, a truck driver for the company, later began paying her to receive the confidential police information, prosecutors said.
The indictment says the police department started a program in February 2011 that let licensed tow truck operators be placed on a call list with the department. When a truck was needed, a dispatcher would call an operator from that list. The initiative was meant to curb the number of tow trucks chasing wrecks and taking advantage of victims.
The location of the accident or incident requiring a tow truck was supposed to stay confidential until the dispatcher called the appropriate truck operator.
But Parsley, a dispatcher since 1998, "circumvented the PPD's rotational towing program and surreptitiously texted these locations" from her personal cellphone to the three towing operators, according to the indictment.
She received cash bribes in exchange for the information, the indictment says. She would also, "for an additional cash fee," run license plates and vehicle registrations through police computers to provide the owners' names and addresses to the tow truck operators.
Parsley is being suspended with the intent to dismiss, the police department said.