South Street, Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA−Joseph N. Reilly, a formerly prominent property manager in the city, admitted in federal court last week that he skimmed hundreds of thousands of dollars in rent money from his landlord clients.

Prosecutors said they believe he stole more than $1 million from more than 50 landlords through his business, Reilly Real Estate, before being discovered, according to a report in Philly.com.

Five years ago, one property owner had insisted that Reilly sign over the deed for his own company headquarters on South Street since Reilly had run up a debt with the client. Reilly continued to operate his firm from the headquarters after it changed hands, paying rent to the client who now held the deed until late 2010, when Reilly stopped all payments.

During the same time period, Reilly Real Estate fell behind on paying its clients’ utility and tax bills – and numerous clients began filing law suits in Common Pleas Court.  In three suits filed in 2010 and 2011, property owners claimed:

  • Reilly rented out a property on the 2000 block of Addison Street for nine months without the owner’s permission and failed to pay $18,200 in rental and water bills for the property.
  • Reilly withheld almost two years’ worth of rent payments collected from tenants that totaled $33,600 from the owner of a building on the 1900 block of Catharine Street.
  • He stopped providing payments to the owner of a building on the 1600 block of South Street and retained $22,000 in rent receipts.

Reilly was released on bond and ordered to remain within the state. His sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 3.

Read more here.