Four Philadelphia men, including a son of former Police Commissioner Sylvester M. Johnson, have been charged in an alleged house-stealing scheme involving 22 properties, the District Attorney's Office said Wednesday.
Steven Johnson, 49, of Northeast Philadelphia, a former SEPTA police lieutenant who later worked for the Philadelphia Sheriff's Office, was charged with criminal conspiracy, forgery, and related offenses.
Codefendants Zachary Stokes, 55; Oscar Ketter, 42; and Elhadi Ibrahim, 48, all of Philadelphia, were charged with the same offenses.
The District Attorney's Office said all the men except Johnson were arrested Wednesday. Johnson was not "on the lam," the office said, adding only that he was not in custody.
A three-year investigation uncovered 22 cases of forged deeds recorded with the city that were used to transfer uninhabited properties, said Tasha Jamerson, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Seth Williams.
The properties often were "sold to innocent purchasers," Jamerson said.
The lawful owners of the properties were not aware of the transfers, and some complained to the District Attorney's Office when they discovered what had happened.
Most of the properties are in South Philadelphia.
Stokes was identified as living in the 200 block of East Pine Street in Society Hill. City records list him as the owner of one of the 22 properties, 1120 S. Clifton St.
Ketter was identified as living in the 1500 block of South Dorrance Street in Point Breeze. Two properties in that block were among the 22 fraudulently transferred.
City records also list Ketter as the owner of 1927 Fernon St., one of the 22 properties.
Ibrahim lives on the 9500 block of Hoff Street in Bustleton, and Johnson on the 4700 block of Vista Street in Holmesburg, the District Attorney's Office said.