Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Philly "pay to play" update

The latest conviction in the Philadelphia corruption scandals:
Faridah Ali, the wife of prominent Muslim cleric Shamsud-din Ali, was sentenced to 24 months in prison yesterday for her role in what the government said was a "money-for-nothing" corruption scheme. ...

Shamsud-din Ali was convicted last year and sentenced to seven years and three months in prison. ...

Ali said she was guilty of defrauding Community College of Philadelphia, a Mercedes-Benz dealership, and a bank. She also admitted to wire fraud, tax evasion, and filing false tax returns. ...

Among other things the couple were charged with was using their mosque, the Philadelphia Masjid, and the Sister Clara Muhammad School that they ran as conduits for illegal income.
One scheme involved collecting funds from Community College for adult literacy classes that were never held.
"At the same time that they were maintaining the image of working for the improvement of the city and their community, Shamsud-din Ali and Faridah Ali were secretly operating a criminal enterprise designed to enrich themselves through the accumulation of criminal proceeds," prosecutors said in a sentencing memo filed as part of yesterday's proceedings.
Faridah Ali was convicted in 2004 of separate fraud charges in the Community College scam. She is serving a one-year house arrest sentence for that conviction.

This story fails to mention that Faridah's husband was a supporter of Philadelphia's Democrat Mayor John Street and "used his political connections to obtain dubious loans, donations and city contracts." More than a dozen people have been convicted in the so-called "pay to play" scandal.