Former Water Dept. employee charged in $1.3 million supply scam

A former Philadelphia Water Department employee has been charged with ordering a million dollars of office supplies and secretly selling them to an Arkansas business.

Calvin Duncan, 61, of Philadelphia, allegedly ran the scam from January 2006 until January 2012. Federal prosecutors claim Duncan, a mail clerk who was responsible for ordering office supplies, purchased printer ink and toner cartridges and sold them to Laser Cartridge Plus in Russellville, Ark. Derek Willis, 48, and Danita Willis, 34, of LCP, have also been charged.

According to prosecutors, Duncan used the United Postal Service to mail the illegally obtained cartridges to LCP. In total, the city paid approximately $1.3 million on purchase orders and shipping costs, while the Willis’ allegedly paid Duncan more than $545,000.

The city’s Inspector General began the investigation in September 2011 after receiving a tip from an anonymous employee. They then teamed up with the FBI.

“The fraud alleged in this indictment cost the city crucial funds that might have benefitted the taxpayers in other ways,” U.S. Attorney Zane Memeger said in a statement.

Duncan, Derek Willis and Danita Willis are charged with five counts of mail fraud and aiding and abetting. Derek and Danita Willis are also charged with obstruction of justice for destroying documents related to the scheme, along with perjury for lying to a grand jury in May.

If convicted of all charges, each of the defendants faces more than 100 years in prison and fines exceeding $1 million.

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