Larry Miller

Tribune Staff Writer

A U.S. District Court judge this week sentenced former Philadelphia Traffic Court Judge Robert Mulgrew to 30 months in prison.

Mulgrew, 56, pleaded guilty last year to defrauding the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and to charges of mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud and filing a false tax return.

In addition to the prison term, the judge ordered him to refund $199,274 to the state DCED. Mulgrew also faces three years of supervised release.

He was also one of six co-defendants who were just tried in federal court for allegedly engaging in a long established system of traffic ticket fixing. Jurors determined that three defendants — Thomasine Tynes, Michael Lowry and Mulgrew were guilty of committing perjury before the federal grand jury back in 2013.

In July, a federal jury decided after two days of deliberations to acquit three co-defendants in that case. The trial, which lasted two months, involved what prosecutors called a pervasive system of ticket fixing that benefited the politically connected. Another co-defendant in the case, Willie Singletary was also found guilty of lying to federal agents when they questioned him about ticket fixing. Three co-defendants — Michael Sullivan, Robert Moy and Mark A. Bruno — were found not guilty of any charges. Before the case went to trial, H. Warren Hogeland, Kenneth Miller, Fortunato Perri, William Hird and Henry P. Alfano pleaded guilty.

In the sentencing this week, Mulgrew and co-defendant Lorraine Dispaldo, who also pleaded guilty, said they received Pennsylvania state grant funds awarded to non-profit groups and then paid thousands of dollars to relatives and associates.

Between 1996 and 2008, the DCED awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to two community groups with which Mulgrew and Dispaldo were associated. DCED handed out more than $450,000 in grants to the Friends of Dickinson Square, to be used to purchase equipment and materials for the maintenance of Dickinson Square Park at 4th and Tasker streets and surrounding neighborhood revitalization. DCED also awarded approximately $397,000 in grants to purchase communications equipment for the police and to purchase materials to secure vacant lots and buildings for the protection of the police.

Mulgrew and Dispaldo allegedly used thousands of grant dollars to pay Mulgrew’s relatives and associates. After distributing the cash to relatives and associates, the defendants supplied false and misleading information to DCED to conceal the actual amount of grant funds which they paid to the relatives and associates contrary to the express purposes of the grant, investigators said.

Mulgrew admitted receiving almost $70,000 in grant funds for his own personal uses.

Contact staff writer

Larry Miller

at (215) 893-5747

or lmiller@phillytrib.com

Contact staff writer Larry Miller at (215) 893-5747 or lmiller@phillytrib.com

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