Philadelphia police commissioner Charles Ramsey has decided to fire Officer Elaine Thomas for an alleged tax scam, saying that a suspension wasn't enough.
"In my mind, it was serious enough to warrant dismissal," Ramsey said Wednesday. "There were so many cases involved and this was not a one-time thing. It's not something you can say it was just an error."
Thomas, a 15-year veteran, allegedly claimed in signed court documents in six real-estate transactions that she was related by blood to people who were listed as the sellers. They were not related.
Thomas allegedly falsified paperwork when buying homes to avoid a 3 percent city real-estate transfer tax and a 1 percent state tax.
The Police Board of Inquiry found Thomas guilty last week and recommended a 30-day suspension. The file was forwarded to Ramsey, who had the final say.
"I agreed with the decision to find her guilty, but I didn't agree with the penalty," Ramsey said.
"She listed people as relatives who were not relatives and she avoided paying property taxes. This violates a basic value of the department, which is integrity, and that is something that will not be tolerated in this department."
The District Attorney's Office began to investigate the Thomas case in 2007, but in a June letter the office told Ramsey that it wouldn't prosecute. The D.A. did charge a notary, Chavon Reese, who notarized several documents involving Thomas. Reese has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and forgery in connection with stolen houses.
Police Internal Affairs proceeded with its investigation into six home transfers to Thomas.
In recent weeks, Internal Affairs has received additional complaints about Thomas and those allegations will be investigated, Ramsey said.
"They will be completed and placed in her file, so if she ever wanted to be an officer again, we'd have that," he said.
It's unclear if anything additional would be turned over to the D.A. A D.A. spokeswoman said she would not comment on any cases in which charges have not been filed.
Thomas could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
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