PHILADELPHIA – An indictment was unsealed today charging a Philadelphia man with bribing a Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office employee in exchange for inside information about Sheriff’s sales, announced U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain.
Behzad Sabagh was charged by indictment with one count of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and six counts of honest services wire fraud. The indictment alleges that from September 2012 to August 2013, Sabagh and others paid bribes to a Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office employee in exchange for assistance with their business of purchasing properties at Sheriff’s sales. Specifically, in exchange for bribes, the defendant received an updated Sheriff=s sale auction list which showed whether property sales had been stayed or postponed, allowing the defendant to avoid spending time evaluating properties that would not be sold.
“When the services of a public employee are purchased for personal gain, it is our duty to hold accountable those who attempted to game the system,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain.
If convicted, Sabagh faces a maximum possible sentence of 140 years’ imprisonment, 3 years of supervised release, and a $1,750,000 fine.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation Division, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Sarah Grieb and Christopher Diviny.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
Eastern District of Pennsylvania