Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams Hit with Biggest Fine in Ethics Board History

Williams first faced scrutiny in August for failing to disclose his gifts.

The Philadelphia Ethics Board doled out a $62,000 fine to District Attorney Seth Williams for his failure to disclose five sources of income and 89 gifts, the board said in a statement Tuesday.

The fine is the largest in the board's 10-year history and includes a first-of-its-kind recovery clause as well, the statement said.

In addition to the fine, Williams must pay the city $2,840 for the value of the gifts he received.

"Among the gifts District Attorney Williams failed to disclose in his Original Statements were 20 gifts from individuals who had a financial interest that the District Attorney was able to substantially affect through official action at the time they gave the gifts," the Ethics Board said. 

Williams is also required to amend his statements of financial interest to the city within 30 days.

After the fine was announced, Williams put out a statement in which he said he "will work every day to earn back the trust and respect of all of you."

"It was wrong to fail to fully and accurately disclose the payments and gifts I received," he said in the statement. "I apologize to the people of Philadelphia, the hardworking and talented staff of the District Attorney’s office, my supporters, the friends who supported me and asked nothing in return and most of all to my family, who have had to endure unwarranted attacks for my shortcomings."

Williams has been under investigation by the ethics board since August. He also has reportedly been under investigation by the FBI since September for a charitable foundation in his name.

Williams first told NBC10 in September that he was cooperating with the ethics board.

"I want to say I made a mistake in not reporting gifts from very close friends and very close family," Williams said in an interview Sept. 21. "And because of that I sincerely and humbly apologize to the citizens of Philadelphia."

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