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COMMONWEALTH v. SCHWARTZ ET AL. (09/14/67)

decided: September 14, 1967.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
SCHWARTZ ET AL., APPELLANTS



Appeals from judgments of Court of Quarter Sessions of Philadelphia County, Jan. T., 1966, Nos. 880 to 885, 891 to 893, 896 to 898, 900, and 905, in cases of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Harry C. Schwartz et al.; Same v. Harry C. Schwartz; Same v. Abraham Siegel.

COUNSEL

Marvin Comisky, with him Edwin P. Rome, Goncer M. Krestal, and Blank, Rudenko, Klaus & Rome, for appellants.

Richard A. Sprague, First Assistant District Attorney, with him John A. McMenamin and Alan J. Davis, Assistant District Attorneys, and Arlen Specter, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Ervin, P. J., Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, and Spaulding, JJ. (Wright and Hoffman, JJ., absent). Opinion by Ervin, P. J.

Author: Ervin

[ 210 Pa. Super. Page 365]

These are appeals of Harry C. Schwartz, a magistrate, and Abraham Siegel, a constable, from judgments of sentence, after having been found guilty by a jury on a variety of charges arising out of the investigation of the Magistrates Courts in the City of Philadelphia.

Both defendants were found guilty of the crime of conspiracy, Indictment No. 880 charging that they did "falsely and maliciously conspire to insult public justice; to commit official oppression while exercising their respective public offices; to use the power of their respective

[ 210 Pa. Super. Page 366]

    offices for their own personal gain -- Constable Siegel directly and Magistrate Schwartz indirectly through his wife -- and to cheat and defraud the debtors in the civil cases set forth in the attached list by adding to each of said claims a false and fictitious sum represented to be interest owed by the alleged debtors to the creditors; and did further conspire to violate the Constable's Fee Bill, Act of July 20, 1917, P. L. 1158, as amended, 13 P.S. ยง 61, by demanding, imposing and adjudging in each claim a false, fictitious and excessive sum for constable's travelling expenses instead of the legal sum provided by Act of Assembly." Each defendant was sentenced to from 11 to 23 months in the Philadelphia County Prison for this crime.

Schwartz was also found guilty on Indictment No. 881, which charged that he "in his capacity as magistrate, did commit malfeasance, misbehavior in office and official oppression by wilfully, knowingly and corruptly issuing civil summonses and sitting in judgment upon the civil cases set forth and at the dates set forth in the attached list, with the knowledge that his wife, Lillian Schwartz, as an officer and principal owner of the Active Collection Agency, Inc., which then and there was the collection agent or sub-agent of the various creditors of said claims, would obtain a direct pecuniary benefit from the results of the said cases by receiving a commission on all judgments and costs paid by the alleged debtors and that he, therefore, would indirectly benefit thereby." The court suspended sentence on this indictment.

Schwartz was also found guilty by the jury on Indictment No. 882, which charged that he "a magistrate of the City and County of Philadelphia, in his capacity as magistrate, did commit misbehavior in office" and then the language on this indictment is similar to that set forth for the preceding indictment. Sentence was suspended by the court on this indictment.

[ 210 Pa. Super. Page 367]

Schwartz was also found guilty by the jury on Indictment No. 883, which charged that he "a magistrate of the City and County of Philadelphia, in his capacity as magistrate, did commit official oppression by wilfully, knowingly and corruptly issuing civil summonses and sitting in judgment upon the civil cases set forth and at the dates set forth in the attached list" and then the language of this indictment is similar to that set forth in the preceding indictment. Sentence was suspended on this indictment by the court.

Schwartz was also convicted on Indictment No. 884, which charged that he "a Magistrate of the City of Philadelphia, did, in connection with the thousands of civil cases filed in his Court, and more particularly the civil cases set forth and at the times set forth in Schedule attached hereto, wilfully and corruptly neglect and fail to perform the duties of his office by:

"1. Failing to strike off the false and fraudulent amounts represented by Constables to be interest allegedly owed by debtors to the creditors of said claims;

"2. By failing to award and enter judgments for proper and legal constable fees and travelling expenses in said cases; "3. By failing to require adequate and legal constable's returns of service in the said cases; and

"4. By failing to require the constable to endorse on the execution or a schedule thereto attached, the goods or chattels levied upon and the time of such levies when such levies were made." Sentence was also suspended on this indictment.

Schwartz was also found guilty by a jury on Indictment No. 885 charging that he "a magistrate of the City and County of Philadelphia, in his capacity as magistrate, did commit malfeasance by knowingly and corruptly issuing civil summonses and sitting in judgment upon the civil cases set forth and at the dates set forth in the attached list" and then the language in

[ 210 Pa. Super. Page 368]

    this indictment is similar to that in Indictment No. 883. Sentence was also suspended by the court on this indictment.

Schwartz was also found guilty on Indictment No. 891, which charged that he "a Magistrate of the City of Philadelphia, who was interested in Constable Abraham Siegel and the Active Collection Agency, Inc. unlawfully and feloniously did then and there falsely and designedly pretend and represent to Dorothy and Richard Iseley, by issuing a summons and entering judgment thereon: (1) That there was claimed by the Bell Telephone Company, a creditor in a civil claim against Dorothy and Richard Iseley, the sum of $2.50 as interest on the claim and that the said interest was owed by defendants to the said creditors; whereas, in truth, and in fact as he, the said Magistrate Schwartz then and there well knew, the said creditor and its agent for collection, the Philadelphia Credit Bureau, which had sent the claim to Abraham Siegel or to Active Collection Agency, Inc., of which Abraham Siegel was then an officer, and of which said Magistrate Schwartz's wife, Lillian Schwartz, was a principal shareholder and president, did not claim any interest from the said Dorothy and Richard Iseley and had not asked the said Abraham Siegel or Active Collection Agency, Inc. to collect any interest from said Dorothy and Richard Iseley; and that the said sum of $2.50 was fictitious and false, and which he well knew had been fraudulently added to the claim by Abraham Siegel or Active Collection Agency, Inc.; and

"(2) that the lawful constable's fee and mileage for Constable Abraham Siegel's service of Summons No. 36081, issued by Magistrate Harry C. Schwartz in connection with the above mentioned claim, was $6.50 whereas in fact, the said sum was a greater compensation for service of the summons and mileage than is provided by law and was a fictitious and false amount,

[ 210 Pa. Super. Page 369]

"he, the said Magistrate Harry C. Schwartz well knowing said pretences to be false, by means of which he did aid, assist, or abet Constable Abraham Siegel and the Active Collection Agency, Inc. in obtaining from the said Dorothy and Richard Iseley the sum of $9.00 with intent to defraud the said Dorothy and Richard Iseley." On this indictment Schwartz was sentenced to a term of 11 to 23 months in the Philadelphia County Prison to run concurrently with the sentence on the bill No. 880 and he was also directed to pay a fine of $2,500 on this bill of indictment.

Schwartz was also found guilty on a similar bill of Indictment No. 892 for defrauding Kasmir and Elva Cylbuski. A similar sentence was imposed as that which was imposed on the preceding indictment.

Schwartz was also found guilty on another bill of Indictment No. 892 for defrauding Kasmir and Elva ment, for defrauding Lillian and Gustave Huston. A similar sentence was imposed on this indictment as on the preceding indictment.

Schwartz was also found guilty on another bill of indictment, No. 905, similar to the preceding indictment, for defrauding Bernard and Tilly Granoff, and a similar sentence was imposed as on the preceding indictment.

Siegel was found guilty by a jury on Indictment No. 893, which charged that he "a Constable of the City of Philadelphia and an officer of Active Collection Agency, Inc. unlawfully and feloniously did then and there falsely and designedly pretend and represent to Kasmir and Elva Cylbuski:

"(1) That there was claimed by Gimbel, a creditor in a civil claim against Kasmir and Elva Cylbuski, the sum of $1.50 as interest on the claim and that said interest was owed by defendants to the said creditor; whereas, in truth and in fact as he, the ...


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