The legal woes keep mounting for former Bucks County Magisterial District Judge John I. Waltman and another county public official allegedly involved in a bribery and money laundering prosecution that has already resulted in two previous rounds of charges.
In this third round, filed through a second superseding indictment, federal prosecutors charged Waltman, 59, of Trevose with five additional counts of Hobbs Act extortion, three counts of Travel Act bribery, and two counts of wire fraud.
Additionally, Robert P. Hoopes, 70, of Doylestown, a lawyer and director of public safety for Lower Southampton Township, was charged with three additional counts of Hobbs Act extortion, three counts of Travel Act bribery, and two counts of wire fraud.
With the new charges, prosecutors detailed an alleged extortion element to the scheme.
“Waltman and Hoopes solicited, extorted, and attempted to extort bribes and kickbacks from numerous businesses in exchange for Waltman’s and Hoopes’ influence over Lower Southampton Township’s board of supervisors, solicitor, officers, and employees. In one such alleged scheme, Waltman and Hoopes solicited bribe payments from the salesman of an outdoor advertising company in exchange for offering their influence to reduce lease payments from the company to Lower Southampton Township,” a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania said.
The second superseding indictment also restated charges against Bernard T. Rafferty, 62, of Langhorne, a county deputy constable who heads a consulting firm, and Kevin M. Biederman, 34, a former Philadelphia Federal Credit Union manager.
In December 2016, prosecutors alleged that Waltman, Hoopes and Rafferty took $80,000 in fees from $400,000 in cash a confidential witness and undercover federal agents told them came from drug-trafficking, and a health care and bank fraud scheme.
In the Aug. 1 superseding indictment, prosecutors claimed Waltman, Hoopes and Rafferty accepted a bribe of $1,000, as well as the promise of other fees, in exchange for the trio using their positions as public officials to “fix” a traffic case before Waltman. Prosecutors allege Hoopes attempted to make a witness lie about the alleged bribe to the grand jury. Hoopes faces a count of witness tampering.
The first superseding indictment also charged Biederman, a former Philadelphia Federal Credit Union manager who is accused of conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering, and bank bribery for allegedly preparing bogus documents for the money laundering transactions, for a fee.
Waltman’s attorney, Louis Busico, did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Nor did Hoopes’ lawyer, William Winning of Cozen O’Connor.