Traffic Judge, Legislative Aide Charged With Fraud

Judge, Aide implicated in $800K fraud case

Thursday, Sep 13, 2012  |  Updated 1:53 PM EDT
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Traffic Judge, Legislative Aide Charged With Fraud

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A Philly Traffic Court judge and an associate face federal fraud charges related to the alleged misuse of more than $800,000 in Pennsylvania state grant funds intended for non-profit groups.

An indictment unsealed Thursday alleges Traffic Court Judge Robert Mulgrew, 54, and Lorraine Dispaldo, 58, misused the grant money, including some allegedly paid to longtime friends of Dispaldo's boss, state Rep. William Keller.

Federal prosecutors say Mulgrew and Dispaldo each signed grant applications for a pair of community organizations, Friends of Dickinson Square and Community to Police Communications, which were used to funnel the ill-gotten money to friends, family and associates.

Mulgrew's wife, Elizabeth, 55, was charged with filing false tax returns.

All three defendants were arrested Thursday morning scheduled to appear in court in the afternoon.

The First Judicial District released a statement Thursday afternoon about the arrests.

"The First Judicial District (FJD) has been made aware of the indictments of Philadelphia Traffic Court Judge Robert Mulgrew; his wife, Elizabeth; and Lorraine Dispaldo, an aide to State Representative William Keller.  We have no other information than that which already has been released by federal authorities. It is important to note that today's indictments are unrelated to the ongoing federal investigation of allegations of ticket-fixing within Philadelphia Traffic Court and the First Judicial District's own internal investigation of the same allegations, ordered and directed by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.  The Supreme Court also will soon determine Judge Mulgrew's status regarding his position within Traffic Court.  The FJD has no further comment at this point in time."

A phone message left by the AP at Keller's office wasn't immediately returned.

 


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