Nine Philadelphia judges indicted in traffic ticket fixing scheme

1276d90bfbfaf699d8e79ca3e73e4da7

Nine current and former Philadelphia Traffic Court judges were indicted for fraud, conspiracy and other charges on Thursday in what federal prosecutors called a culture of ticket fixing.

“Those who seek to game the system by refusing to follow the rules need to be held accountable by the rule of law they swore to uphold,” U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger said in a statement.

The 77-count indictment said “the ticket fixing was pervasive and frequent,” continued from July 2008 until September 2011 and cost the city an untold amount.

“For years, even beyond the dates of the conspiracy charged, there existed a culture of ticket fixing at Traffic Court,” it said.

The indictment said that local politicians, including ward leaders, politically connected individuals, and those with influential positions in business, labor, industry or society, asked Traffic Court judges or administrators for preferential treatment for constituents, relatives, friends, and associates who had been issued citations.

One business owner, Henry Alfano, 68, described in the indictment as the owner of an automotive business and the landlord for two gentlemen’s clubs, is accused of fixing tickets for his friends. In exchange, he paid a judge with free car repairs, car maintenance, car towing, videos and seafood.

Another businessman, Robert Moy, 56, owner of a translation service, sometimes guaranteed his customers favorable results on their traffic tickets, and did so by working through a traffic court judge, the indictment said.

William Brennan, a lawyer who represents former judge Willie Singletary, told Reuters on Thursday that he will enter a plea of not guilty for his client.

“I’m pleased after reviewing this lengthy document, this indictment, that the government does not allege that my client took one thin dime,” Brennan said.

Charges and penalties

All defendants are charged with conspiracy, aiding and abetting, mail fraud and wire fraud.
Some also face allegations of perjury and making false statements to the FBI.

– Administrative Judge of Traffic Court Michael Sullivan faces up to 440 years in prison and a $5.5 million fine.

– Traffic Court judge Michael Lowry faces a maximum sentence of 205 years in prison and a $2.75 million fine.

– Former Traffic Court judge Robert Mulgrew faces up to 145 years in jail and a $2 million fine.

– Former Traffic Court judge Willie Singletary faces a maximum sentence of 490 years in jail and a $6.5 million fine.

– Former Traffic Court judge Thomasine Tynes could receive up to 230 years in prison and a $3.25 million fine.

– Chester County magisterial district judge Mark Bruno faces a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison and a $750,000 fine.

– Former Traffic Court director of records William Hird could receive up to 315 years in jail and a $4.5 million fine.

Other defendants include business owners Moy and Alfano, senior Traffic Court judge Fortunato N. Perri Sr., Bucks County senior magisterial district judge H. Warren Hogeland and Delaware county senior district judge Kenneth Miller.

METRO / AW

Cleaning court

Political watchdog Committee of Seventy on Thursday suggested several steps to start rebuilding the public’s trust in the city Traffic Court.

CEO Zack Stalberg pointed out that the primary election for three open Traffic Court seats is less than four months away and suggested concerned voters let their ballots do the talking – or that Gov. Tom Corbett step in and appoint three judges who have demonstrated transparency and integrity.

Seventy also suggested that the First Judicial District mandate ethics training for Traffic Court employees, the Philadelphia Bar Association should evaluate and publicly rate all 2013 Traffic Court Candidates and the city Democratic and Republican committees endorse candidates based on those ratings.

Stalberg said that in the long term, Traffic Court needs to be either dissolved or completely overhaul the Philadelphia Traffic Court.

“Today’s indictments are not isolated episodes that can be fixed by getting rid of several bad actors,” he said. “There has been one scandal after another in Traffic Court. This pattern must end.”

METRO / AW



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Hurricane Odile batters Mexico's Baja resorts, sparks looting

Hurricane Odile injured dozens of people, forced the evacuation of thousands and smashed shops open to looters in the popular tourist area of Baja, Mexico.

National

Apple iPhone 6 pre-orders hit record 4 million…

By Lehar Maan(Reuters) - Apple Inc said many customers will need to wait until next month for their new iPhones after a record 4 million…

National

LAPD investigates complaint from detained 'Django' actress

The LAPD is investigating after "Django Unchained" actress Daniele Watts accused police of violating her rights when they detained her.

Local

Number of New York City smokers increase, topping…

For the first time since 2007, there are  more than one million smokers in New York City, according to the New York City Department of…

Movies

Newsflash: Corey Stoll is still not a man

In director Shaun Levy's "This Is Where I Leave You," Corey Stoll stars as the oldest of four adult children (the others are played by…

Movies

If you don't like Simon Pegg's new film,…

Simon Pegg goes all out in "Hector and the Search for Happiness" as the titular psychiatrist stymied by modern life who embarks on a globetrotting…

Arts

Art in Chelsea: Don't miss these 3 galleries

We selected three sure bets for seeing cool art in the galleries of Chelsea.

Music

Robin Thicke blurs lines further with new 'Blurred…

"The reality is," said Robin Thicke about "Blurred Lines" in a court deposition, "Pharrell had the beat and he wrote almost every single part of the song."

NFL

Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.

NFL

Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.

NFL

3 things we learned in Jets loss to…

The wheels came off for the Jets, who gave up 21 unanswered points after a brilliant first 20 minutes in a 31-24 loss at the Packers.

NFL

Victor Cruz catches case of the drops in…

The Giants dropped a tough, 25-14, decision to the undermanned Cardinals Sunday in their home opener. And drop was the operative word of the day,…

Travel

World's most hipster cities: Top 5

Travel blogger Adam Groffman tells us his picks for the Top 5 most hipster cities in the world.

Education

The top 5 regrets recent high school grads…

College application season can seem like a blur for many students - as test prep, campus visits and filling out a seemingly endless stream of…

Parenting

Tech execs tend to limit their kids' screen…

You probably got your iPad before Bill Gates's kids did.

Wellbeing

Wellbeing: Daybreaker returns, Ray Rice jersey trade, Sweet…

  Now that Ray Rice is no longer with the Baltimore Ravens — or any other NFL team — after video footage surfaced showing him…