Chester Housing Authority Director, Chief Assistant, and Contractor Face Indictments for Bribery and Fraud

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PHILADELPHIA, PA  — United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Norman D. Wise, 57, of Mullica Hill, NJ, Douglas E. Daniel, 65, of Philadelphia, PA, and Leonard F. Coleman, 53, of Paulsboro, NJ, were charged Tuesday by Information with bribery and fraud charges related to two schemes: (1) a bribery scheme in which Coleman paid off Wise and Daniel in exchange for contracting work awarded to Coleman at the Chester Housing Authority (“CHA”); and (2) a fraud scheme in which Wise and Daniel created a contracting company that they used to fraudulently bill the CHA and obtain hundreds of thousands of dollars in proceeds. During the time they engaged in these offenses, Wise was the Director of Public Housing for the Chester Housing Authority and Daniel was the Housing Program Manager and Wise’s chief assistant.

According to the Information, from in or about July 2014 through in or about March 2022, defendant Coleman made bribe payments separately to Wise and Daniel in exchange for CHA contracting work awarded to his company, Coleman’s Contracting. To generate these bribe payments, Wise and Daniel inflated the amount charged on invoices that Coleman submitted to the CHA for work he performed for the CHA. Wise and Daniel then ensured that the CHA paid Coleman on the inflated invoices, and Coleman paid Wise and Daniel bribes in amounts covered by the inflated invoices. Coleman made these payments by depositing funds directly into the personal bank accounts of Wise and Daniel. In total, Coleman made approximately $76,400 in bribe payments to Wise and Daniel around the time that Coleman received approximately $2.5 million in revenue from the CHA.

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According to the Information, from in or about January 2019 through in or about January 2023, in a separate scheme, Wise and Daniel together used a company they created, Trinity Management Group (“TMG”), to fraudulently bill the CHA for work TMG allegedly performed for the CHA. Most of the work for which TMG billed the CHA was (1) performed by salaried CHA employees during their regular work hours; (2) performed by other contractors who were paid for that work by the CHA; or (3) not performed at all. In particular, the fraudulent invoices included billing for landscaping, painting, window replacements, and other construction and renovation work at CHA facilities. This fraudulent billing resulted in losses to the CHA of approximately $544,967.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Louis D. Lappen.

An indictment, information, or criminal complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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