PHILADELPHIA – A former J.P. Morgan vice president pleaded guilty Thursday to arranging a $50,000 payment to a close friend and adviser of Mayor John F. Street (search) in an attempt to win favor with the administration.
Anthony C. Snell (search), who worked in J.P. Morgan's southeast regional office, pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud.
Investigators accused Snell and his supervisor of submitting a false invoice to the company to make it appear as if Street confidant Ronald A. White (search) had performed some legal work for J.P. Morgan.
In actuality, White hadn't worked for the financial services firm, but was pleasantly surprised to learn that the two men had arranged for him to get paid anyway, prosecutors said. White died in November while awaiting trial.
Snell told a judge Thursday, "I'm pleading guilty because I love my family and I am accepting my responsibility."
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Snell could receive up to a year in prison. He also must pay J.P. Morgan $50,000 in restitution. His trial had been scheduled to begin next week.
Snell's supervisor at J.P. Morgan, Charles E. LeCroy, pleaded innocent and is scheduled to be tried next week.
FBI agents learned of the alleged payment when they tapped White's phone and bugged his office during a lengthy investigation into the conduct of several municipal officials in Philadelphia.
The probe became public when city police discovered a hidden listening device that the FBI had placed in Street's City Hall office in October 2003. The following month, Street was overwhelmingly elected to another term as mayor.
Street has not been charged with any wrongdoing, and prosecutors have declined to say why he was under surveillance.
As part of the investigation, FBI has also examined how a company with financial ties to the mayor's brother, T. Milton Street Sr., was awarded a multimillion-dollar maintenance contract at the city airport. No charges have been filed in that matter.
It was disclosed this week that in an unrelated civil case, Milton Street had revealed that he had been earning $30,000 a month as a consultant for the company, Philadelphia Airport Services.
A spokesman for the mayor said he had learned from news reports that his brother was a consultant for the company. But he said that he wasn't aware of the payment amounts, which were disclosed Wednesday in the Philadelphia Daily News.
Milton Street had sought to be a subcontractor for Philadelphia Airport Services, but his brother, the mayor, had promised that that would not happen because it smacked of nepotism.