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
Local

Monday is the deadline to register for Pennsylvania…

If residents want to vote in the May primary, which includes a vote for a new City Council member, today is the deadline to register.

National

Miss America thinks school should reconsider discipline of…

A Pa. student was suspended for asking Miss America to prom.

Local

Aria Health Torresdale workers caught selling prescription drugs

Two Aria Health at Torresdale employees were fired amid accusations they sold prescription drugs out of the Northeast Philadelphia campus.

National

Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter died Sunday from prostate cancer…

Former U.S. professional boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, who spent 19 years in prison for murder and then was released after it was determined he did not get a fair trial,…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

The Word

Miley Cyrus cancels more dates, tweeting from hospital

Miley Cyrus is reportedly so sick that she's had to postpone more tour dates. We know this because she has been sitting in a hospital…

Music

Loop are, er, um, back in the loop

Experimental noise rock band Loop's three mid-1980s to early-1990s albums, “Heavens End,” “Fade Out” and “A Gilded Eternity,” were mercifully reissued.

NHL

Ray Emery steps up in Flyers’ Game 2…

Sure, he allowed two goals in the Rangers’ first four shots Sunday afternoon, but it’s about how you start, not how you finish.

NHL

Flyers come from behind, even series with Rangers

The Flyers overcame a two-goal deficit to get a much-needed win at Madison Square Garden Sunday.

MLB

Phillies get set for four against the Dodgers

The Phillies will face tough starting pitching out west against the Dodgers this week.

MLB

Phillies notebook: Cole Hamels returns this week

The Phillies should receive a big boost when Cole Hamels returns during the Dodgers series.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.