Robert P. Hoopes, former Lower Southampton Director of Public Safety, has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and four counts of Hobbs Act extortion. Hoopes is accused of accepting a bribe and extorting business owners while he was in office, and is now waiting to be sentenced on December 17th for a potential maximum of 100 years in federal prison.
In the past, Hoopes faced similar charges, including honest service fraud, money laundering and witness tampering in a 2015 federal investigation while he was working as a Lower Southampton conflict attorney. In 2016, Hoopes was then hired as the director of public safety but was fired less than a year later in December after being indicted on money laundering charges involving John Waltman, Lower Southampton District Judge, and Bernard Rafferty, former state deputy constable. All three men were accused of laundering $400,000 worth of funds stemming from drug trafficking and health care fraud which they received from undercover agents in 2015 to 2016. Hoopes and Waltman were also accused of being connected to a pay-to-play scheme, where the two men accepted bribes from business owners and conspired to fix a traffic ticket for an undercover agent. Hoopes’ guilty plea leaves Waltman the only defendant scheduled for a jury trial where he faces charges of money laundering, conspiracy, honest service mail fraud, honest wire fraud, and Hobbs Act extortion. Rafferty is awaiting sentencing after he admitted, in March of 2018, to helping Waltman and Hoopes launder money through a consulting business and the traffic ticket scheme.
Former Credit Union Manager, Kevin Biederman along with Robert Degoria, former digital sign salesman and Michael Savona, former Lower Southampton solicitor are also tied to the case with similar charges. Biederman admitted to using his position at the Philadelphia Federal Credit Union to create fake documents facilitating the money laundering operation and DeGoria admitted to lying to the IRS and FBI in relation to financial business with Hoopes and Waltman. Sanova admitted to lying to investigators about his knowledge of the $10,000 bribe DeGoria paid to Hoopes and Waltman. These three men are currently awaiting sentencing as well.
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