The son of a former Philadelphia police commissioner surrendered to authorities on Thursday, eight days after the district attorney’s office announced filing criminal charges against him in a house-stealing scheme.
Steven Johnson, 49, of the 4700 block of Vista St. in Holmesburg, is the son of former Commissioner Sylvester Johnson, and is himself a former lieutenant in the SEPTA police force as well as an employee of the Philadelphia County Sheriff’s Office.
Johnson and three other men allegedly forged deeds with falsified notarizations for more than 20 vacant homes in the city and filed the bogus documents with the city to effectively take possession of the properties, the DA said. The men then allegedly sold many of the homes for profit.
Most of the affected sites are in South Philadelphia. None are in the Northeast.
The DA’s office declined to specify how Johnson arranged to surrender or why he was permitted to remain free for more than a week while his co-defendants were arrested on Jan. 9, according to the DA.
Johnson’s co-defendants include Zachary Stokes, 55, of the 200 block of Pine St; Oscar “Andre” Ketter, 42, of the 1500 block of S. Dorrance St.; and Elhadi Ibrahim, 48, of the 9500 block of Hoff St. in Bustleton. All are charged with conspiracy, theft, forgery, tampering with records and related offenses.
All but Johnson remain jailed in lieu of varying bail amounts of $560,000 or more. They are scheduled for a status hearing on Feb. 8 and a preliminary hearing on April 9. Johnson was freed after posting 10 percent of $100,000 bail on the day of his arrest. He is scheduled for a status hearing on Jan. 25. ••