Ex-police commissioner’s son charged in ‘stolen houses’ case [updated]

Two men from Northeast Philadelphia are among those charged with stealing houses around the city.

Forty-eight-year-old Elhadi Ibrahim of the 9500-block of Hoff Street in Bustleton, and 49-year-old Steven Johnson of the 4700-block of Vista Street in Holmesburg are charged with fraudulent conveyance of more than 20 properties. Johnson is the son of former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson. 

From the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office:

The lengthy investigation revealed that the deeds of 22 uninhabited properties across the city were forged and recorded, transferring the properties from the true owners to the codefendants or to fictitious persons.  The properties were then often sold to innocent purchasers, and in many cases the purchase price was just one dollar. 

In each case of fraud, the lawful owner was unaware of the “sale” of the property and did not sign the deed or give anyone the right to transfer title to the property.  Several homeowners contacted the District Attorney’s Office about the illegal activity after receiving notification from the department of records that the deed had been transferred.  In many instances, the signature of the Notary Public on the deed was also forged and a counterfeit stamp was used so the fraudulent deed could be recorded as a public record.     

The charges reflect criminal activity related to the following properties: 

  • 1120 S Clifton Street
  • 1931 Dickinson Street
  • 1428 S. Colorado Street
  • 1527 S. Dorrance Street
  • 1447 Bancroft Street
  • 2029 Beechwood Street
  • 1631 Mole Street
  • 1408 S. Chadwick Street
  • 24 N. Paxon Street
  • 1534 S. Dorrance Street
  • 1011 Brandywine Street
  • 1026 Brandywine Street
  • 714 S. 11th Street
  • 1258 S. 22nd Street
  • 1428 S. 24th Street
  • 1325 N. Franklin Street
  • 1835 S 19th Street
  • 1422 S. 22nd Street
  • 1622 S. Carlisle Street
  • 2213 Kimball Street
  • 2404 W. Lehigh Ave
  • 1927 Fernon Street

Fifty-five-year-old Zachary Stokes of the 200 block of E. Pine Street and 42-year-old Oscar Ketter of the 1500 block of S. Dorrance Street have also been charged. Johnson turned himself into police Thursday morning on charges of criminal conspiracy, theft by unlawful taking or disposition, theft by deception, forgery and tampering with records or identification [updated Jan. 17].

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