The U.S. Federal Government charged nine elected judges along with three other individuals in a fraud conspiracy that involved a frequent and pervasive “ticket-fixing” at the Philadelphia Traffic Court. The defendants participated in a widespread culture of giving breaks on traffic citations to friends, family, the politically connected, and business associates.
According to the indictment, Philadelphia ward leaders, local politicians, and associates of the Democratic City Committee regularly contacted defendants seeking preferential treatment on specific tickets. Additionally, defendants were regularly contacted by family, friends, and associates seeking a “break” on tickets.
Tickets were “fixed” by either being dismissed, finding the ticket holder “not guilty,” or finding the ticket holder guilty of a lesser offense. 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 defendants allegedly used their personal assistants and courtroom staff to communicate requests to “fix tickets” to other judges. The indictment further alleges that the conspiracy also involved a cover-up that consisted of shredding paperwork, speaking in code, and trusting only certain individuals to carry out the fraud scheme.