Former Philadelphia judge Robert Mulgrew received a sentence of 18 months in federal
prison for lying to investigators during a probe into ticket-fixing practices in the city's now disbanded traffic court.
The sentence will be tacked on to a 30 month stretch Mulgrew is currently serving after pleading guilty to mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud and filing a false tax return. Mulgrew engaged in a scheme to fraudulently receive and misuse Pennsylvania state grant funds awarded to non-profit groups. Between 1996 and 2008, the Department of Community and Economic Development awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to two community groups with which Mulgrew was associated.
Mulgrew is one of four defendants in the ticket-fixing trial who were found not guilty of the more serious fraud and conspiracy charges, but a jury did find them guilty of perjury and lying to federal investigators. Thomasine Tynes, Willie Singletary and Michael Lowry still await their sentences.
According to the original indictment, Philadelphia ward leaders, local politicians, and associates of the Democratic City Committee regularly contacted the defendants seeking preferential treatment on specific 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 traffic court has since been disbanded by the state assembly and its tasks have been taken over by the Philadelphia Municipal Court.