'Johnny Doc' associate sentenced to 15 months for theft, tax evasion

Pat Loeb
January 27, 2020 - 3:56 pm
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The former chair of Philadelphia's Zoning Board of Adjustment will serve 15 months in jail, after getting caught up in the federal investigation of electricians union leader John Dougherty

James Moylan, a South Philadelphia chiropractor and close friend of Dougherty, was sentenced Monday for theft and tax evasion.

Judge Jeffrey Schmehl said he received nearly 300 letters asking for leniency for 57-year-old Moylan. As he looked around a packed courtroom, he said he has rarely seen such a show of support. 

Nonetheless, he said, the crime to which Moylan pleaded guilty — stealing money that electricians union Local 98 had given him for a nonprofit and using it for personal expenses — was too serious for a reduced sentence. 

Defense attorney Joseph Capone said it caught him by surprise.

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“We were hoping he'd get maybe something less than a year and then maybe have the ability to work in the community a little bit more,” he said.

Character witnesses said Moylan devoted himself to the community, and his use of the Local 98 funds was an aberration. But prosecutor Paul Gray said the theft took place over the course of two years, not in one shot. Moylan also pleaded guilty to tax evasion for four years.

“This long-standing filing of false income tax returns was not an aberration of Mr. Moylan's but rather a systematic crime,” Gray said.

Gray noted that the FBI raided Moylan's office looking for evidence in its case against Dougherty. Instead, they found the records that led to separate charges against Moylan. 

Moylan was head of the Zoning Board of Adjustment but resigned three weeks after the raid.

Gray said the sentence sends a message.

“This willful theft of charitable funds was particularly egregious. The court recognized this and I think the sentence was entirely appropriate,” he said.