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State Rep.'s former chief of staff sentenced for role in suspended Traffic Court judge’s fraud

Prison sentence for a decade-long scam through South Philly community organizations.

Credit: Getty Images. Credit: Getty Images.

A state representative’s former chief of staff was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Monday for her role in a conspiracy fraud which involved a suspended traffic court judge.

Lorraine Dispaldo, 58, pled guilty in April to assisting in orchestrating a scam whereby state funds funneled to community groups in South Philadelphia were paid out to family friends and relatives.

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Suspended Traffic Court Judge Robert Mulgrew pled guilty in September to siphoning off funds from two community organizations, the Friends of Dickinson Square and Community to Police Communications.

According to federal prosecutors, the two groups received approximately $860,000 in state funds between 1996 and 2008.

About $180,000 of these funds were given out in “impermissible payments” – paid to teenage sons of friends for low-work summer jobs and for work on private property, among other uses.

Dispaldo, the former chief of staff to State Rep. Bill Keller, signed checks for $104,000 of these impermissible payments and falsified reports to conceal the fraud.

She also gave $13,000 in state funds to Rep. Keller’s office cleaner and used $4,600 for her personal cell phone.

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