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Former Bucks public safety official sentenced for corruption


Robert Hoopes, 72, of Doylestown, and Bernard Rafferty, 64, of Langhorne, were sentenced to 54 months’ and 18 months’ incarceration, respectively, by United States District Judge Gene E.K. Pratter Thursday, June 13.

Last September, Hoopes, a former attorney, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and Hobbs Act Extortion Under Color of Official Right. In March 2018, Rafferty pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and honest services mail fraud.

From February 2016 until December 2016, Hoopes was the Director of Public Safety in Lower Southampton Township. In this position, Hoopes had authority over all police, fire and emergency operations in the township. From 1992 until December 2016, Rafferty was a Deputy Constable in Bucks County.

Together with their co-defendants, including former Magisterial District Judge John Waltman who was sentenced to 78 months’ incarceration earlier in the week, Hoopes and Rafferty participated in a scheme to extort bribes and kickbacks from Bucks County businessmen, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

They also conspired to launder money for individuals they believed were engaged in narcotics trafficking and health care fraud, the office said.

For example, in November 2016, Waltman, Hoopes and Rafferty accepted a bribe of $1,000, as well as the promise of other fees, in exchange for Waltman, Hoopes and Rafferty to use their positions as public officials to “fix” a traffic case before Waltman in Bucks County Magisterial District Court.

In addition, from June 2015 to November 2016, Waltman, Hoopes and Rafferty conspired to launder funds represented to be proceeds from health care fraud and illegal drug trafficking. From June 2016 to August 2016, Waltman, Hoopes and Rafferty specifically laundered $400,000 in cash and took money laundering fees totaling $80,000 in cash.

“The laws of the land apply to everyone – especially to public officials who hold office to serve the public good,” said U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain. “Hoopes and Rafferty, like their corrupt partner Waltman, chose to flout the rule of law. In doing so, they disgraced themselves and the offices they held. Every public official should be on notice after today’s sentence: federal law enforcement is watching and we will hold you accountable if you make the wrong choices.”

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Pennsylvania State Police.