PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that three City of Philadelphia employees who worked in the Revenue Department were charged with soliciting and accepting bribes in connection with their employment. All three were charged with one count of federal program bribery.
Jarredd McQueen, 50, of Philadelphia, PA, was charged by Information. He was employed as a Customer Collection Representative for the City of Philadelphia’s Revenue Department when he allegedly accepted $9,000 of bribes in connection with his work. McQueen’s alleged criminal conduct began in May of 2018 and ended in November of 2018. He resigned from his employment on July 17, 2020.
Demarys Natal, 56, of Philadelphia, PA, was also charged by Information. She was employed as a Customer Collection Representative for the City of Philadelphia’s Revenue Department when she allegedly accepted $26,600 of bribes in connection with her work. Natal’s alleged criminal conduct began in February of 2018 and ended in September of 2019. She resigned from her employment on November 5, 2019.
Nicole Mixon, 44, of Philadelphia, PA, was charged by Indictment. She was also employed as a Customer Collection Representative for the City of Philadelphia’s Revenue Department when she allegedly accepted $22,300 of bribes in connection with her work. Mixon’s alleged criminal conduct began in November of 2019 and ended in March of 2020. She resigned from her employment yesterday.
As Revenue Department employees, McQueen and Mixon accessed the Taxpayer Information Payment System (“TIPS”), a computer system the City of Philadelphia uses to track the status of various financial obligations. The financial obligations include real estate taxes, refuse (i.e., trash) fees, and small business fees, that are owed to the City by property owners. McQueen and Mixon used TIPS to adjust the outstanding balances on various types of taxes and/or fees for a particular property after meeting with taxpayers about money they owed to the City.
McQueen and Mixon allegedly used their official positions collecting monies owed to the City as an opportunity to enrich themselves, while depriving the City of money owed to it by certain taxpayers. For example, the Information against McQueen alleges that he erased a $5,644.88 trash fee in exchange for a $1,500 cash bribe paid by an individual cooperating with the FBI. The Indictment against Mixon alleges that she erased a $1,210 trash fee in exchange for a $800 cash bribe paid by an individual cooperating with the FBI.
As an employee of the Revenue Department working in the Major Tax Unit, Natal collected delinquent business tax payments on Philadelphia properties. The collection efforts required Natal to meet and correspond with taxpayers about their outstanding debts. Natal allegedly used her official position collecting monies owed to the City as an opportunity to enrich herself, while depriving the City of money owed to it by certain taxpayers.
For example, the Information alleges that Natal told a taxpayer to bring two $500 postal money orders to the Municipal Services Building to satisfy the judgment for unpaid business taxes. Natal instructed the taxpayer to leave the payee section of the money orders blank. She later sent a text message instructing the taxpayer to “to leave them blank there [sic] doing us a personal favor so u can get ur $$$ instead of city.” An individual cooperating with the FBI presented Natal with two $500 money orders with the payee section blank, and in return, Natal allegedly erased $10,000 in fees associated with business taxes on a Philadelphia property. Natal deposited the $500 money orders into her bank account with the memo section reading “Repair/Remodeling” and “Flooring.”
“Bribes and corruption must have no place in Philadelphia’s municipal government,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “Corruption is an insidious disease that destroys the public’s confidence in its government, which is why we at the U.S. Attorney’s Office are so determined to root it out. Here, these three Revenue Department employees will now face the consequences of their alleged brazen and illegal acts.”
“When municipal employees decide to take bribes, they’re openly putting their own interests above those of the city they serve,” said Michael J. Driscoll, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “The defendants’ alleged actions benefitted themselves and those who paid them off, at the expense of Philadelphia’s revenues and its residents. The FBI will continue to aggressively investigate allegations of public corruption, and work with our partners to ensure that those who violate their obligation to the public are held fully accountable.”
“I want to thank our federal partners for working with us from start to finish on this investigation. Public service demands integrity and honesty and together we send a strong message that there is no place for City employees who are unable to meet this standard,” said City of Philadelphia Inspector General Alexander DeSantis.
If convicted, McQueen, Natal, and Mixon each face a maximum possible sentence of 10 years in prison.
All three cases were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Philadelphia Office of the Inspector General, and are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jason P. Bologna.
An indictment, information, or criminal complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.