By Walt Hunter and Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –- Several former and current judges of Philadelphia Traffic Court, plus judges in Bucks, Chester, and Delaware counties, as well as local businessmen and others associated with the Philadelphia court system, were surrendering to federal authorities today after being caught in a wide-ranging probe of ticket-fixing in Philadelphia.
The accusations are contained in a 77-count indictment plus three “informations” (indicating that those three defendants may intend to plead guilty).
According to a statement from US attorney Zane Memeger, “The defendants participated in a widespread culture of giving breaks on traffic citations to friends, family, the politically connected, and business associates.”
Investigators say the judges acted on requests from Philadelphia ward leaders, local politicians, associates of the Democratic City Committee, as well as family, friends, and other associaties. Philadelphia Traffic Court handles moving violations, not parking violations, in the city.
Read the Indictment (.pdf format)
Among those who surrendered this morning to be fingerprinted and photographed by the FBI was former judge Willie Singletary (see related story), who arrived at the federal courthouse in Philadelphia with his attorney, William Brennan (top photo).
Brennan indicated that his client would plead not guilty.
Another defendant, courtroom administrator William Hird, left the courthouse moments earlier with his attorney, Gregory Pagano, who also indicated his client would plead not guilty. Pagano said his client had been charged “for simply doing his job.”
The US attorney’s office in Philadelphia today issued the following list of defendants:
- Michael J. Sullivan (sitting judge, Phila. Traffic Court)
- Michael Lowry (sitting judge, Traffic Court)
- Robert Mulgrew (former judge, Traffic Court)
- Willie Singletary (former judge, Traffic Court)
- Thomasine Tynes (former judge, Traffic Court)
- Mark A. Bruno (Chester County Magisterial District)
- H. Warren Hogeland (Bucks County senior magisterial district judge)
- Kenneth Miller (Delaware County senior district judge)
- Fortunato N. Perri Sr. (senior judge, Traffic Court)
- William Hird (former Director of Records, Traffic Court)
- Henry P. Alfano (local businessman)
- Robert Moy (local businessman)
The crackdown follows years of investigation by the FBI that included raids of several suspects’ homes and offices (see related story).
Most if not all of the defendants were expected to surrender, be processed, and face their initial arraignments today.