Former SEPTA Director Sentenced for Bribery and Extortion Scheme

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PHILADELPHIA, PA — James Stevens, 71, of Somerdale, NJ, was sentenced Monday to 37 months in prison for his involvement in a bribery and extortion scheme. He manipulated his position as the Director of the Video Surveillance Unit at the Southeastern Regional Transportation Authority (SEPTA) to enrich himself.

U.S. Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Stevens had demanded financial benefits from Robert Welsh, 60, owner of Spector Logistics, Inc. In return, Stevens helped expand Welsh’s business with SEPTA. The company installed and maintained video surveillance equipment for the transit authority.

Stevens received tens of thousands of dollars in cash, donations to a sham charity, lodging and meals during the 2015 Papal Visit, concert tickets, and even a promise of future employment. In return, he ensured that Welsh’s companies secured lucrative contracts with SEPTA by providing insider information.

This corrupt relationship allowed Spector and another company, Blue Zebra, to gain millions in contracts, disadvantaging other vendors. Both men pleaded guilty earlier this year, with Stevens admitting his guilt in January and Welsh in August. Welsh is set to be sentenced on July 18, 2024.

“Stevens’ sentence serves as a warning to those who abuse the public’s trust,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. Special Agent Wayne A. Jacobs added that the FBI will continue to combat such schemes, which erode public trust.

The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Louis D. Lappen and John J. Boscia.

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