Police board wants cop suspended for alleged tax scam

A POLICE BOARD found Officer Elaine Thomas, a 15-year veteran of the force, guilty Wednesday of an alleged tax scam and recommended that she be suspended for 30 days without pay.

Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey has the final say on how Thomas should be disciplined and said that he had not yet read the Police Board of Inquiry's findings.

"As soon as I review it, I will make a final determination," he said.

Thomas, 41, allegedly falsely claimed in signed court documents in six real-estate transactions that she was related by blood to people who were listed as the sellers.

She allegedly falsified paperwork when buying homes to avoid a 3-percent city real-estate-transfer tax and a 1-percent state tax.

The District Attorney's Office investigated the case beginning in 2007, but in a June letter told Ramsey that it wouldn't prosecute Thomas. The D.A., however, did charge a notary, Chavon Reese, who notarized several court documents involving Thomas. Reese pleaded guilty to conspiracy and 23 counts of forgery in connection with stolen houses.

Police Internal Affairs proceeded with its investigation into six home transfers to Thomas from Allen McDonald, Margaret Carruth, Vincent Ruffin, Eugene Hamilton, Christine Kibler and Bulah Culver.

Culver's granddaughter, Sanetha Carmichael, told the Daily News that Thomas is no relation, although the paperwork said that Culver is Thomas' mother.

Carruth's two sons also said that Thomas is not related although the document lists Carruth as Thomas' mother.

And although Kibler died in 2003, someone forged her signature in 2004 to sell her house on Diamond Street near 29th. Thomas is listed as the buyer.

Kibler is described as Thomas' sister on the transfer-tax form. But Kibler died at age 97.

Thomas, assigned to the 18th District in West Philadelphia, has declined to comment, and when a reporter called the district and asked for her, someone said, "Please stop calling here."

Ramsey initially had said that Daily News and Inquirer reporters could attend Wednesday's hearing. But after other news organizations asked to attend, Ramsey closed the hearing, saying that the room was not large enough.

Ramsey said that his decision was not linked to a letter sent by Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 to district commanders arguing that the proceeding is an internal investigation and therefore should be closed. The union implored members to demonstrate outside the Police Administration Building, where the hearing was held.

No demonstrators or Thomas supporters could be found outside the building.

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