Former Phila. assistant DA charged with making false police reports, obstruction of justice

By Jon Campisi | Oct 8, 2013

A former assistant chief in the Homicide Unit of the Philadelphia District

Attorney’s Office was arrested by state agents last week and charged with making false police reports, according to both the D.A.’s Office and the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office.

Lynn Nichols, a 22-year veteran of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, has been charged by state prosecutors with one count of making false reports to law enforcement authorities and one count of obstruction of justice, according to the office of Attorney General Kathleen Kane, which is handling the matter due to potential conflicts of interest that could have arisen had Nichols’s former colleagues handled the case.

The Attorney General’s Office said that the case was sparked by a private complaint lodged with the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.

Investigators discovered that Nichols allegedly used her influence as an assistant city prosecutor to have a vehicle that was reported stolen removed from law enforcement databases in the fall of 2012 in order to aid her then-boyfriend.

About a year after the vehicle was removed from the National Crime Information Center, or NCIC, and months after breaking up with the boyfriend, Nichols tracked down the vehicle’s owner and created a scheme as an act of revenge against the ex-boyfriend to once again have the car reported stolen, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

Nichols stands accused of calling authorities from the home of the vehicle’s owner, and falsely stating that the vehicle was stolen that day from the person’s house.

The call was allegedly made in the presence of the vehicle’s owner.

After police officers arrived following the 911 call, Nichols, who purportedly acted as the sister of the vehicle owner, signed a police report attesting to the truthfulness of her statements, the Attorney General’s Office stated in a news release announcing Nichols’s arrest.

After officers left the home of the vehicle owner, Nichols, allegedly using the name of the homeowner, then placed a phone call to a local police department in New Jersey, advising them that she had reported the vehicle stolen in Philadelphia and learned information that the car might be located at a specific New Jersey address.

Officers in the Garden State soon found the vehicle at the address provided by Nichols.

“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 [sic] instructions to report it stolen,” reads the A.G. Office’s news release.

Nichols cooperated with investigators and turned herself in for processing at the Southwest Detective Division of the Philadelphia Police Department on Oct. 4, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

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

Nichols, who was initially suspended by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, has since resigned her position, according to the office.

In a statement, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams noted that Nichols had a long and successful career while working for the office.

“While it is with both professional and personal sadness that I am making this announcement today, we must maintain the highest standards of conduct in my office, and the legal process must take its course,” Williams said in his Oct. 4 statement.

Williams said his office would have no additional comment about the case.

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