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
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.