Federal jury acquit Philly traffic court judges of fraud charges, three found guilty of perjury

By Jim Boyle | Aug 1, 2014

A federal jury delivered its verdicts last week against seven defendants charged in a ticket

fixing conspiracy involving the former Philadelphia Traffic Court, acquitting six judges and another man of conspiracy and mail and wire fraud, but holding three judges guilty of perjury and one for misleading the FBI during its investigation.

Michael Lowry, Robert Mulgrew, and Thomasine Tynes are guilty of committing perjury before the federal grand jury and defendant Willie Singletary is guilty of lying to the FBI when questioned about ticket fixing at Traffic Court. Three defendants were found not guilty of all charges, including judges Michael Sullivan and Mark A. Bruno, along with Robert Moy, a businessman who had been accused of sending requests for ticket leniency to judges Tynes and Sullivan.

Co-defendants H. Warren Hogeland, Kenneth Miller, Fortunato Perri, William Hird, and Henry P. Alfano previously pleaded guilty.

“We respect the jury’s verdict in this case and will continue our efforts to root out corruption in Philadelphia and this district,” said United States Attorney Zane David Memeger in a statement. “We are pleased that the jury convicted these former judges of the serious offenses of lying under oath and lying to the FBI.”

According to the indictment, Philadelphia ward leaders, local politicians, and associates of the Democratic City Committee regularly contacted the defendants seeking preferential treatment on specific tickets. Additionally, defendants were regularly contacted by family, friends, and associates seeking a “break” on tickets.

These defendants were accused of accepting these requests and either gave the preferential treatment directly or communicated the request to another judge to whom the case was assigned.

Tickets were “fixed” by either being dismissed, finding the ticket holder “not guilty,” or finding the ticket holder guilty of a lesser offense, court documents say. In many cases, the ticket holder did not even appear in traffic court, yet his/her ticket was “fixed.” As a result, these ticketholders paid lesser or no fines and costs and evaded the assessment of “points” on their driver’s records.

The FBI says that this "ticket-fixing” defrauded both the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the city of Philadelphia of funds and allowed potentially unsafe drivers to remain on the roads.

The traffic court has since been disbanded by the state assembly and its tasks have been taken over by the Philadelphia Municipal Court.

Sentencing hearings were not scheduled. Each defendant faces a maximum possible statutory sentence of not more than five years and/or a fine.

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