Former Traffic Court Judge Gets 30 Months

Robert Mulgrew pleaded guilty to defrauding the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development last year.

Former Philadelphia Traffic Court Judge Robert Mulgrew was sentenced to 30 years in prison for his role in a scheme to fraudulently acquire funds intended for state non-profit groups. Mulgrew, 56, pleaded guilty last year to mail fraud and related charges stemming from a misuse of funds from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

Mulgrew and co-defendant Lorraine Dispaldo, who also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months last year, directed hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Pennsylvania DCED to groups they were affiliated with between 1996 and 2008. Friends of Dickinson Square received $450,000 from DCED; Mulgrew, the group’s vice president, admitted to spending $70,000 of that money on himself. He and Dispaldo gave forged documents to DCED to cover it up.


Mulgrew and Dispaldo also admitted to spending money earmarked for the Community to Police Communications (CPC) on relatives and associates. The approximately $397,000 was supposed to be spent on police communication equipment and other associated projects. Thousands were spend fraudulently.

The former traffic court judge was also ordered to pay back $199,274 in restitution, $123,314 to the IRS, as well as the dreaded $200 special assessment. The IRS and FBI investigated the case, while the U.S. Attorney's office prosecuted it.

Mulgrew was cleared of ticket-fixing in the recent traffic court trial, but was convicted of lying to authorities.

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