A FORMER Philadelphia police lieutenant who successfully sued the city in 1999 saw her luck run out yesterday when she and a second ex-officer were convicted of stealing utility services.
Former Lt. Aisha Perry, 54, and ex-cop George Suarez, 55, were each convicted by a Common Pleas jury of numerous charges related to tampering with meters to steal thousands of dollars worth of gas and electric services at properties they owned.
Perry "went ballistic" as the verdict was being read, protested that she did nothing wrong and that she was being targeted for having blown the whistle on corrupt officers, according to a source in the courtroom.
She continued to protest, the source said, even after the jury had been excused and Judge Earl Trent admonished her, threatening to hold her in contempt of court.
He eventually allowed both defendants to remain free on bail and set their sentencing hearing for June 11.
Perry was convicted on six counts related to her home on Winchester Avenue near Narvon Street, in the Northeast, and a rehabilitation center called Clean and Sober Residents, on Girard Avenue near 19th Street, in North Philadelphia. She co-owned the center with Suarez.
Suarez was convicted on seven counts related to Perry's home, the center, a third property on Tioga Street near 22nd and a fourth property on Devereaux Avenue near Bingham Street.
Perry, a 31-year police veteran, and Suarez, a 26-year veteran, were placed on desk duty in May 2011 while a more than yearlong investigation into their scheme was conducted. They were arrested in September 2012. Suarez was fired a month later while Perry retired before she could be fired.
Attempts to reach Perry's lawyer, Tariq Karim El-Shabazz, and Suarez's lawyer, Brian McMonagle, were unsuccessful.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Terri Domsky.
"It was an elaborate scheme to avoid paying their fair share," Domsky said.
"I think this was born of greed and the fact that they thought they were smarter than everybody else and they thought they could get away with it. I guess they did - until they got caught," Domsky added.
It's unlikely, however, that the disgraced ex-cops will spend a day behind bars, given that Trent told Domsky he believes they have suffered enough by losing their jobs.
In February 2012, Trent was of the same mindset when he sentenced fired cop Kenneth Crockett to five years' probation after a jury convicted him of stealing $825 from a Northeast bar while on duty.
Domsky had asked for a 1- to 2-year sentence sentence for Crockett and Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey sent a letter asking for the maximum 2 1/2 to 5-year sentence.
In 1999, Perry was awarded $42,000 after suing the city in federal court, claiming that white superior officers had blocked her promotion to sergeant because she blew the whistle on wrongdoing by white officers.
In July 2012, Perry was back in the news when a male friend, Mark Cummins, 45, drowned in her backyard swimming pool. The death was ruled accidental.