Ex-Philly traffic court judge Fortunato Perri, Sr. admits ticket fixing

Fortunato Perri Sr.

March 13, 2013 2:33:37 PM PDT
A former president judge of Philadelphia's traffic court has pleaded guilty to fixing tickets for a strip club owner and others in exchange for favors.

Fortunato Perri Sr., 76, is one of nine judges named in January in a widespread ticket-fixing scheme alleged by the FBI.

He pleaded guilty to four counts of wire and mail fraud, admitting he used his connections to make hundreds of thousands of dollars in tickets disappear.

In the indictment, Perri was allegedly recorded on wiretap telling one businessman, "When you call, I move, brother. Believe me, I move everybody."

It seemed the well-connected knew to call Judge Perri on behalf of themselves, or their employees.

"Those requests were distributed to the various judges presiding over the cases and the dispositions, the outcomes, were very favorable to those ticket holders," said Assistant D.A. Denise Wolf.

There was no evidence Perri took cash, but rather lots of service benefits from the business owners.

"Free car repairs, free food, free videos and various landscaping services and other services," Wolf said.

Perri was charged separately from the others and had been expected to plead guilty. Two other retired judges have also pleaded guilty.

He faces up to six months in prison after Wednesday's fraud and conspiracy plea.

Defense lawyer Brian McMonagle, who declined comment, will seek probation for his client.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 21.