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Clifton Heights man with unauthorized law license stole from client, arrested for theft and possessing child porn

Media, Pa – Today District Attorney Jack Whelan announced former attorney Brendan Magee, 39, of Clifton Heights, is in prison facing charges for possessing child pornography, the sexual abuse of children, and criminal use of communication facility, all felonies of the third degree. Additionally, Magee is charged with the unauthorized practice of law and theft by deception for practicing without a valid Pennsylvania law license and stealing from a client.

An investigation was launched by Det. Sgt. Kenneth Bellis of the District Attorney’s Delaware County Criminal Investigation (CID) and PA Internet Crime Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, as the result of information received from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), that an individual using Google had uploaded images of suspected child pornography to his account. On June 14, CID Det. Sgt. Bellis, county detectives and officers with the Clifton Heights Police Department executed a search warrant at 507 S. Church Street, the primary residence of Brendan Magee, to search for evidence relating to the child pornography investigation.

Brendan Magee, who was home at the time of the search, initially agreed to speak with detectives. When asked about his Gmail account, he claimed that his account had been hacked and shut down. He denied ever viewing child pornography and advised that he did not currently have a computer. When questioned further, he became uncooperative and stated he did not want to continue speaking with detectives.

During the search, a number of pieces of digital equipment were confiscated from the property including a laptop and several electronic devices. CID Analyst Brian Knowlton and Det. Christopher Tankelewicz conducted a forensic examination which uncovered more than 50 photos and one video of child pornography. CID Detective Kenneth Bellis of the PA Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force determined the images depicted children under 18-years old engaging in sexual acts and/or poses in violation of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code.

In a separate investigation, also conducted by Det. Sgt. Bellis, it was determined that Brendan Magee had been practicing law without being a licensed attorney in the state of Pennsylvania. Through the course of that investigation it was determined that his law license had been suspended by the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in December 2016, after he failed to disclose that he did not have a valid Pennsylvania law license and had used another attorney’s registration number while representing a client in February 2014. Further investigation determined he failed to provide services in a child-custody case in December 2014 and unlawfully took payment.

"Individuals who search out and view child pornography contribute to the appalling exploitation of innocent children,” said District Attorney Jack Whelan. “Our ICAC Task Force is actively working to locate and arrest these individuals. I would like to commend Det. Sgt. Ken Bellis, the Clifton Heights Police Department and the ICAC Task Force for their continued work to find and apprehend these perpetrators. “As an attorney, Brendan Magee fraudulently represented himself, showing extreme contempt for the law and a complete disregard for the lawyer licensing process.”
Delaware County investigators believe Brendan Magee may have victimized others. Anyone with information is urged to call Det. Sgt. Bellis at 610-891-4717.

All licensed attorneys in Pennsylvania are registered on the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. If residents have any questions or concerns regarding an attorney, they are encouraged to look up that attorney by accessing the website at www.padisciplinaryboard.org.

Brendan Magee was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Christopher R. Mattox on August 25, who set bail at ten percent of $350,000 for both crimes. Magee was remanded to the George W. Hill Correctional Facility after he failed to post bail. The preliminary hearing is scheduled for September 7.

County announces opening of office to serve senior victims of crime

 Delaware County Councilmen Dave White and John McBlain joined District Attorney Jack Whelan and Chelsey Price, Director of Senior Victim Services of the District Attorney’s Office, with local law enforcement and senior advocates to announce the grand opening of the newly renovated office for Senior Victim Services located just a block away from the Delaware County Courthouse on S. Olive Street in Media. With a focus to assist senior residents in Delaware County, advocates of the District Attorney’s Senior Victim Services work with detectives and prosecutors to provide advocacy, assistance, and safety within the criminal justice system. Advocates also work with social service agencies and community organizations to restore the lives of victims and prevent further victimization.

Philly man arrested for traveling to meet a child for sex, who referred to himself as “dirty old Santa”

District Attorney Jack Whelan and Captain Scott E. Willoughby of the Ridley Township Police Department announced William T. McKinlay, 56, of the 900 block of Marcella Street in Philadelphia is facing multiple felony charges for attempting to lure who he thought was a 14-year-old girl for sex. The arrest comes at the conclusion of an undercover investigation by the Delaware County Criminal Investigation Division (CID) Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) and Ridley Township Police Department.

McKinlay faces first-degree felony charges including criminal use of a communications facility, attempted statutory sexual assault and solicitation, and attempted involuntary indecent sexual intercourse.  If convicted, McKinlay faces a lifetime Megan’s Law registration. 

On April 12, Officer Tim Kearney of the Ridley Township Police Department was acting in an undercover capacity on an investigation for the Pennsylvania ICAC Task Force. Posing as a 14-year-old girl named “Stephanie,” Officer Kearney responded to an Internet advertisement posted on a website titled, “young uns – m4w (NE).” After responding to the AD, McKinlay and “Stephanie” began exchanging messages during which “Stephanie” confirmed she was 14-years-old.

After learning her age, McKinlay began having sexually explicit conversations with “Stephanie.”  During the course of a month, the defendant explained to “Stephanie” how to masturbate and ordered her to do “homework” which involved learning how to masturbate herself and provide graphic detail to McKinlay. During one conversation, McKinlay sent a picture with his hand spread across his mouth, sticking his tongue through his fingers, telling “Stephanie” that the fingers are her legs and his tongue is so he can perform oral sex on her. He also sent graphic pictures and referred to himself as “dirty old Santa.”

Believing he was speaking to a 14-year-old girl, McKinlay described how he would love to see “Stephanie” naked and teach her about sex. On June 12, they began discussing meeting up in person, and two days later, it was confirmed they would meet at 4:00 pm on Wednesday, June 21 at an ice cream store in Ridley Township.  He told her it would help if she didn’t wear many clothes in the first place, and told her to wear a sleeveless t-shirt, shorts, sneakers and nothing else.

On June 21, McKinlay arrived at the ice cream store in Ridley Township, to meet who he thought was a 14-year-old girl. Instead, he was met by Officer Kearney, Officer Leo Doyle of Ridley Township, CID Det. Edmond Pisani, Det. Sgt. Kenneth Bellis of the ICAC Unit and detectives with the Ridley Township Police Department.

 

He was taken into custody without incident and remanded to the Delaware County Prison after failing to post bail which was set at ten percent of $250,000. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 10.

 

As the result of the investigation it was determined that McKinlay held himself out as Santa. Further investigation confirmed that he was a seasonal employee at Macy’s in Philadelphia although his exact position could not be confirmed.

 

“I would like to commend Officer Tim Kearney and Officer Leo Doyle of Ridley Township Police, CID Det. Edmond J. Pisani, Jr. and Det. Sgt. Kenneth Bellis for their swift action to apprehend the defendant without incident,” said District Attorney Jack Whelan. “The allegations against McKinlay are a reminder to parents of the need to be vigilant in protecting children from those who relentlessly prey upon them on the internet.”

Radnor attorney arrested for stealing clients’ settlement funds

District Attorney Jack Whelan announced Gregory G. Stagliano, 61, of Radnor Township, is facing felony charges for stealing more than $400,000 in settlement funds for his own personal use from nine different victims who he was representing in personal injury cases. 

Stagliano, of the 500 block of Chaumont Drive, is charged with theft by unlawful taking, theft of services, theft by deception, and receiving stolen property, all felonies of the third degree in addition to being charged with the unauthorized practice of law.

An investigation into the theft began on July 30, 2016 led by Detective Michele Deery of the Delaware County Criminal Investigation (CID) Division Economic Crime Unit, when information was received from the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania that Gregory Stagliano, a personal injury attorney, stole settlement money owed to his clients.

In one of the nine cases, Stagliano was hired to represent an individual who was in a car accident that occurred in February 2014. As a result of the settlement in the case, Stagliano received two checks, totaling $65,000, both which were made payable to the victim of the car accident and Stagliano. The first check was received on November 6, 2016 in the amount of $50,000 from Allstate Insurance and the second check from Nationwide Insurance was dated December 19, 2014 for $15,000. 

According to bank records, both checks were deposited into Stagliano’s Interest on Lawyers Trust Account (IOLTA) account. After receiving only $7,500 in partial distribution of the funds, the victim attempted to contact Stagliano more than 30 times in regards to the whereabouts of the money she was owed.  She received various excuses from Stagliano and at one point, he responded to her, “I wish you to cease your continued harassing communications in this regard and if you do not, we will go about it in a different way.” 

Following an investigation by the Disciplinary Board, Stagliano represented in his fiduciary statement that he owed $40,000 to the victim. Further investigation of his bank records by Det. Deery revealed that the settlement funds had been spent by Stagliano, with an actual balance of only $133.77 in his account. 

As a result of an investigation into the 8 other theft cases, all of which show a similar pattern of theft, it was determined that on nine separate occasions Stagliano deposited funds into his own Santander Interest on Lawyers Trust Account (IOLTA), ranging in $3,000 to $50,000, keeping his clients money for his own personal use. Further investigation into bank records show that he spent the money including using the funds in the account to pay taxes on properties he owns in Delaware County.

“As prosecutors, we find the violation of his sworn fiduciary responsibly especially disturbing and Mr. Stagliano used this position in order to fund his own lavish lifestyle and pay his own personal debts with his clients’ money,” said District Attorney Jack Whelan. “Individuals should be able to trust their attorneys and abusing that trust is both unethical and in this case criminal. Today’s arrest of Mr. Stagliano should send a clear message that no one is above the law. All licensed attorneys in Pennsylvania are registered on the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. If residents have any questions or concerns regarding an attorney, they are encouraged to look up that attorney by accessing the website at www.padisciplinaryboard.org.”

If anyone believes they have been victimized by Gregory G. Stagliano, please contact CID Det. Michele Deery at 610-891-8745.

Delaware County Courts offer Second Chance for Recovery

Delaware County judges are taking a proactive approach to address the opioid epidemic and the growing problem of substance abuse by giving those struggling with addiction a second chance. 

As a cooperative effort between the courts and law enforcement, defendants whose minor crimes are rooted in drug use are now being connected with treatment and rehabilitation in the early stages of the criminal justice process through the recently launched Second Chance Court pretrial drug program. 

On March 9, Judges of the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas and Delaware County’s Magisterial District Courts were joined by District Attorney Jack Whelan, Councilman Dave White and police chiefs in a courtroom at the Delaware County Courthouse in Media, to announce the new program. 

Spearheaded by Judge John P. Capuzzi Sr., Second Chance Court implements an early system of assessment in the pretrial phase, to divert low to moderate risk offenders into treatment as soon as possible after their initial court appearance. The program is designed as a proactive intervention aimed at addressing potential substance abuse issues and reducing offender recidivism. It provides a system of accountability, through educational programming, rehabilitation, and treatment as opposed to the typical sentence imposed under a traditional court conviction.

“After research and discussion with treatment providers, we recognized that intervention by courts was lacking at the most critical time, immediately following the arrest,” said Judge John Capuzzi. “Consequently, the defendants struggling with addiction were released back without supervision to continue a vicious cycle of addiction. The purpose of this program is to address that gap of time between arrest and the pretrial conference so people can get the help they need right away.” 

Previously, there was a lapse in time between the initial court appearance in Magisterial District Court, following an arrest, to when a criminal case reached the Court of Common Pleas level.  In most instances, this was a 4-6-month gap in time when the individual was released from police custody to continue their struggle with addiction, or remanded to prison without receiving any type of treatment. 

Through the Second Chance Court program, these individuals are identified at the time of the bail interview so that judges in Magisterial District Court can divert offenders to immediate treatment as a condition of bail.  Once an individual is identified, the Delaware County Adult Probation & Parole provides supervision through the pretrial bail unit and any violations are addressed by Judge Capuzzi and the Court of Common Pleas.  Once the person is evaluated, it will be up to that individual to continue with treatment or to go through the usual court system route. 

As part of the program, a pre-trial bail unit coordinator hired through grant funding works to transfer care of the individual to a Crozer-Keystone Health System care team consisting of a nurse navigator, social worker, and two certified recovery specialists. 

The team assesses the client in the Access Center at Community Hospital in Chester and helps to coordinate the appropriate care. Crozer-Keystone is designated a Center of Excellence for opioid abuse treatment. 

During the time period from the formal arraignment to the pre-trial conference, the defendant will continue with the clinically match drug and alcohol treatment plan under the supervision of the court coordinator who will then determine whether they are eligible for another Delaware County Treatment Court program. 

“As part of our effort to address the heroin and prescription drug problem, we need to emphasize the importance of giving individuals an opportunity to receive the treatment they need,” said District Attorney Jack Whelan. “As a result of Judge Capuzzi and his team’s efforts, it is our hope is that this program will prevent offenders from repeating criminal behavior, not only to benefit that individual but also the whole community in terms of public safety.” 

In addition to Mental Health and Veteran’s Court, Delaware County Court of Common Pleas and the District Attorney’s Office, and Delaware County Council also offers a more intensive drug treatment court following the preliminary stages of the criminal justice process that allows offenders to address substance addiction while under the strict supervision of the Office of Adult Probation and Parole and Treatment Court Judge.  Drug Treatment Court is a 30-month intermediate punishment program for non-violent offenders with an alcohol and/or drug addiction that has resulted in an arrest or a violation of county probation. 

Since its inception in 2007, many non-violent offenders have been diverted from the prison system and, with help, have turned their lives around.