October 4, 2013

Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney charged with making false police reports

HARRISBURG - Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane today announced charges against a Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney, who allegedly made a false police report and improperly interfered with a reported stolen vehicle.

AG Kane identified the defendant as Lynn Nichols, a 22-year veteran of the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office most recently assigned as Assistant Chief of the Homicide Unit.  The Office of the Attorney General was referred this case after a private complaint about the defendant was lodged with the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office.  AG Kane noted the District Attorney's office immediately notified her office because of a conflict of interest.

The investigation revealed that Nichols allegedly used her influence as an Assistant District Attorney to have a reported stolen vehicle removed from NCIC in October 2012 to help her then-boyfriend.  It is alleged that approximately one year after the vehicle was removed from NCIC and months after breaking up with the boyfriend, Nichols approached the lawful owner of the vehicle, knowing where the vehicle had been stored for the past year, and devised a scheme as an act of revenge to have the vehicle again reported stolen.

To accomplish this, Nichols is accused of placing a call to 911 from the vehicle's owner?s home phone, in the presence of the owner, and falsely reporting that the vehicle was stolen that day from the owner's residence.  Police arrived at the owner's residence and the owner, with Nichols by her side purportedly acting as her "sister," signed the police report attesting that her vehicle was stolen from her residence that day.  When the police left, Nichols, accused of using the owner's name, called the local police department in New Jersey and advised them that she reported her vehicle stolen in Philadelphia and received information that it may be at a specific address.  The local New Jersey police department located the vehicle at the address and quickly knew it was not stolen that day because of its condition.  When the local NJ police officer contacted the vehicle owner, she quickly reported that Nichols, a Philadelphia ADA who she had never met before, came to her house and relayed the story of the history of the vehicle and Nichols instructions to report it stolen.

Nichols is charged with one count of making false reports to law enforcement authorities and one count of obstruction of justice.  Nichols cooperated with the investigation and turned herself in for arrest at the Southwest Detective Division on October 4, 2013.

The case will be prosecuted in Philadelphia County by Senior Deputy Attorney General Susan DiGiacomo of the Attorney General's Criminal Prosecutions Section. 

(A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.)

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