Traffic Court records keeper pleads guilty to ticket-fixing scheme

Philadelphia Traffic Court
Credit: Metro Archive

A fourth defendant has pled guilty to charges related to the ticket-fixing conspiracy operated out of Philadelphia Traffic Court, federal prosecutors announced.

William Hird, 68, the former director of records at the Traffic Court, pleaded guilty Monday in Philadelphia federal court to 18 counts including conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud and lying to the FBI when questioned about ticket fixing.

Previously, former Traffic Court Judge Fortunato Perri Sr. pled guilty last March.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Perri would receive traffic citation numbers, the names of those with violations, or the citation itself, where “fixing” the ticket was requested.

Perri would convey these requests to Hird, who would pass along the requests to the assigned judge or judge’s staff.

“Hird was extremely loyal to Perri, given that Perri helped Hird move up the ladder to a high-level administrator at Traffic Court,” states a press release from the office of U.S. Attorney Zane Memeger. “Given Hird’s position at Traffic Court and access to the judges, Hird was able to facilitate requests for ticket fixing for Perri.”

An FBI investigation last year found that corruption was rampant in Philadelphia Traffic Court, and nine judges were indicted for their involvement in fraud.

Ticket fixing entailed dismissing the traffic tickets, finding the ticket holder not guilty or finding them guilty of a lesser offense, according to prosecutors. Ticket holders getting fixing service often did not have to appear in court, avoided getting points added to their driving record, and paid less in fines, or none at all, for traffic violations.

Hird faces a possible sentence of 12 to 18 months in prison.

The Philadelphia Traffic Court was dissolved by the legislature at the end of 2013 as a result of the ticket-fixing investigation.

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