Sheriff Jewell Williams talks with a reporter about how one family took illegal possession of a house and was arrested for it.
The Office of the Sheriff announced today a change to the Monthly Foreclosure Sales held in the First District Plaza Building at 3801 Market Street in Philadelphia.
Starting January 5, 2016, "ALL SALES" will start at 9AM.
This will allow us to accomodate the increase in properties being brought to sale and provide us the oppurtunity to close out the sale process by the end of the business day.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A Latino has reached the rank of captain for the first time in the 300-year history of the Philadelphia Sheriff's Office.
Capt. Michael Bastone was among five men promoted by Sheriff Jewell Williams.
The office says Bastone scored the second highest of those who took the test. He's been with the sheriff's office for 25 years.
Bastone said in a statement that he was humbled.
PHILADELPHIA, PA---The office of the Sheriff of Philadelphia City and County is urging individuals in the city AND surrounding counties to be aware of people trying to extort money by claiming they represent the sheriff’s office and/or the court, or Jury Commission Office.
“We are also supporting efforts by Philadelphia City Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr., the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, and the First Judicial District in getting the word out about these scam artists and the despicable ways they are preying on innocent people,” said Sheriff Jewell Williams.
“I need to make it absolutely clear,” said Sheriff Williams, “we NEVER call ANYONE about a debt. We SERVE a court-executed warrant”.
Among those who have been victimized are a number of constituents in Councilman Jones’ 4th District who have complained of people calling and threatening them with arrest and/or a heavy fine because they have either failed to appear for Jury Duty, or have not paid a specific debt, usually from a “quick loan” organization or a credit card debt.
Examples of the methodology used by the scammers include:
A 67-year-old woman being told she needed to pay a fine because she failed to respond to a jury notice. The man said his name was Mike Sapp and represented the Office of the Sheriff of Philadelphia. After the woman informed him she was going to call both the police and the court, he hung up.
- A man being told there was a “warrant out for his arrest for theft by deception” because he failed to pay money owed on a credit card. The female caller said she also represented the sheriff’s office and he could either turn himself in or call a certain number to pay the debt. The caller even said it was okay to use a PayPal Account. Unfortunately, the man wound up paying $300 to an organization called United Financial Resource.
- Another woman was told she had to pay a fine because she missed grand jury duty and there was an outstanding warrant for her arrest. The man who called her identified himself as Deputy Sheriff Strong. The woman was literally on her way to pay the fine, but contacted Councilman Jones’ office first, which intervened and uncovered the scam. Also, no such “Deputy Sheriff Strong” works at the Office of the Sheriff of Philadelphia City and County.
“As the Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, I am deeply concerned about this scam especially since it seems like they are targeting constituents in the 4th District,” said Jones. “I urge anybody contacted by these scammers to contact the proper authorities immediately."
Richard T. McSorley, Deputy Court Administrator, Criminal Trial Division for the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, has issued the following: “A jury summons is an official court order requiring jury duty. Failure to respond to your jury notice can result in legal consequences including contempt. However, no fines, costs or warrants of arrest are ever issued without notice of a court hearing that would be held in the Stout Center for Criminal Justice at 1301 Filbert street. No phone calls are ever made to those who fail to appear for jury duty”.
If you suspect you are being scammed or are suspicious of anyone claiming to be from the sheriff’s office or the court, please call any of the following numbers for verification and/or clarity:
- Office of the Sheriff of Philadelphia City and County: 215-686-3530
- Jury Commission Office: 215-683-7190.
- District Attorney’s Office: 215-686-9900
PHILADELPHIA, PA--Members of the Sheriff of Philadelphia’s Fugitive Warrant Unit last night apprehended an individual wanted by the FBI in connection with a string of recent bank robberies in Philadelphia.
The suspect, Richard Cooper, was taken into custody by the warrant unit around 7:15 p.m. Sunday night in an alley on the 2200 Block of E. Cambria Street.
Cooper, who was not the original target of the warrant unit, was also under house arrest before he took off recently and was being sought by the warrant unit for being an absconder on rape charges.
According to Staff Inspector Jennifer Algarin, one of the individuals involved in the apprehension, and Captain Vernon Muse, head of the warrant unit, while enroute to a two-story row home on the block to serve a warrant on an individual charged with intent to deliver drugs, the unit, which consisted of five individuals, were tipped off by an informant that Cooper was in the same house.
Further investigation revealed Cooper was also being sought in connection with no less than two bank robberies at gunpoint. Amid concerns he may have been armed with a high powered weapon, the unit also called in the Philadelphia Police Stakeout unit and other uniformed Philadelphia Police officers for backup.
As the warrant unit approached the front of the house, Cooper fled out the back door and into an alley where he was apprehended without a struggle by members of the warrant unit already covering the rear.
Cooper was taken by the warrant unit to the Curran Fromhold Correction Facility on State Road.
“We never know what we are going to face when we go out looking for fugitives,” said Sheriff Jewell Williams. “The fact this dangerous individual was captured without a struggle and no one was hurt is a plus for us, and a testimony to good training, but more importantly, it means that one less dangerous individual is no longer on the streets.”
For more information contact Joseph Blake, Communications Officer, at 215-495-4174.
PHILADELPHIA, PA---The Office of the Sheriff of Philadelphia City and County has launched an interactive, data-rich WebAPP that offers detailed information on properties scheduled for sheriff’s sale that includes names, dates of sale, location, and what will possibly be the opening bid on the property.
The site, at www.phillysheriff.com also contains maps, word-search fields, and a wealth of detailed information about the properties and the conditions under which they are being sold.
“This new feature is a continuation of our efforts to make us as transparent as possible while providing a level of technical efficiency and service that has never been offered by this office,” said Sheriff Jewell Williams.
The web application is the first of its kind in the nation to be used by a sheriff’s office, and is in line with Sheriff Williams pledge to provide more openness and accessibility to records and data for everyone. This has also helped to level the playing field for those looking for a home, and a piece of the American dream.
“When you look at who attends sheriff sales now,” said Sheriff Williams, “there are just as many individuals and first-time buyers as there are speculators and contractors. That’s partly because of innovations like this app, our outreach and educational seminars on how to buy at a sale.”
The upgraded website also offers:
- An easy, interactive way to find the neighborhood in which a property is located.
- A street view of the property on Google map
- Names of current property owners
- The possible opening bid you can expect at the sale.
- The ability to download and save information right from the site
IT Director Tom Dodd, and web developer Micah Mahjoubian worked together to create the site and say the interest is already high, and increasing daily.
“Basically, the entire web site is all about delivering on promises of transparency and openness,” says Dodd. “Technology allows us to do just that, while also raising our level of professionalism and service.”
Payments to Philadelphia's city treasury and utilities, from mortgage foreclosures and delinquent tax, gas and water bills, surged to $58.3 million last year, a 40% jump from $34.4 million in 2013, according to a statement from the city's elected Sheriff, Jewell Williams. The office, which also transport prisoners, has in the past been accused of inefficiency and favoritism in its management of delinquent property accounts.
"The increase in revenue can be attributed to two changes," says Williams' office: First: a new policy "that requires purchasers of properties to make final settlement within thirty days after the sale is held. In the past, final payment could be made months after a property was sold." Second, "a new data management system which increased the speed of processing sales and collecting payments."
“The faster we get paid for properties, the faster we can send delinquent taxes and municipal fees to the City,” Williams said in a statement. The payments include $22.7 million in back taxes from foreclosed properties, $8.5 million in back water bills, and $5.4 million to the city-owned Philadelphia Gas Works.
Willaims also says his office has speeded up processing deeds to foreclosure buyers to "20 days or less," from "months" in the past. "People who purchase properties at sheriff sales need a deed to take possession of the property and return it to productive use," Wiliams added.
I am both honored and proud to be entering my second term in office, and encouraged by the many positive changes of 2015 that included even more technological advancements, expanded services, increased community outreach, an an overall transparency to the office unprecedented since it's inception.
We've expanded our working hours to 4:30 p.m., have added an extra day to our popular "How To Buy Property at a Sheriff's Sale Seminars", and expanded our community outreach to include workshops and classes once a month at Drexel University's Dornsife Center at 36th and Spring Garden Streets.
Our Defendant Asset Recovery Team (D.A.R.T.) has returned close to a record $3 million to those owed money from property sold at a sheriff sale, and our radio show—“The Sheriff’s Roundup”—on WURD-AM has become quite popular in its time slot of the first Saturday of every month at 1 p.m.
Our topics have ranged from informing consumers about holiday scams and illegal lockouts and evictions, to educating people on how to apply for funds that may be owed from the sheriff sale of a property.
Our presence in the community will continue to grow as we take on projects ranging from a read-a-thon in a challenged public school, to building a playground and strengthening our relationship with the Philadelphia More Beautiful Committee (PMBC) to issue even more Sheriff Clean Block Certificates to Block Captains across the city.
Between neighborhood block parties, seminars, clean block programs, workshops and special events, we directly contacted close to 15,000 people in 2015.
From the visit of The Pope to the The Puerto Rican Mass at the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul, 2015 was a year for "stepping out" and "stepping up" to the challenges of shaping the office into the type of transparent and service-oriented place the public deserves.
We ended the year on a good note as our Sheriff's Deputies and members of our Bike Unit collected toys and book bags for children across the city--a perfect statement about the kind of commitment to community and duty in which this office has evolved.
I look forward to what lay ahead in 2016 because we have already set a solid foundation for future growth that we've built that began the first day I took office in 2012.
So, sign up for a seminar or workshop on our web site, or browse properties, or fill out a specific form to help you in a legal matter--it's all here for you it is the goal of this office to make it as interactive and service-friendly as possible.
Welcome to the Sheriff Sale WebApp, an interactive web application that allows you to browse properties for sale, view those properties as a list or on an interactive map, create custom lists that can be saved for future viewing, and easily download the information.
Searching for Properties
You can search for a property by its address, book/writ number, or Office of Property Assessment (OPA) number, and view all properties being sold at a particular Sheriff Sale. By using the "Advanced Search" features you can search properties by sale status, range of sale dates, opening bid, and attorney.
Browse Properties as a List or on an Interactive Map
In addition to viewing a list of properties being sold at auction, properties can also be browsed on an interactive map. That way you can see which properties are for sale in a particular neighborhood. Each property on the map is color coded depending on whether the property is a mortgage foreclosure sale, or a tax sale.
Discover Details about Properties for Sale
By clicking on individual properties, you can view details about that property including sale date, sale type, opening bid, attorney on record, property owner, assessed value, zoning designation, and more. You can also get a "Google Maps Street View" of the property.
Add Properties to a "My Favorites" List
After browsing through the properties, you can easily add properties you are interested in to a "My Favorites" list for easy reference. You can download that list and bring it with you to a Sheriff Sale.
Create and Save Custom Lists of Properties
The Sheriff Sale WebApp also makes it easy to query custom lists of properties across many parameters. By registering for an account, you can save your lists in the app for future reference.