Saturday, August 1, 2015

Traffic Court Judge Fortunato Perri faces up to 6 months in prison

Former Traffic Court Administrative Judge Fortunato Perri Sr. hung his head and shielded his eyes with his hand as a federal judge asked Wednesday morning if he understood he was pleading guilty to four felonies after being charged in a massive ticket-fixing scheme on Jan. 31.

Traffic Court Judge Fortunato Perri faces up to 6 months in prison

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Fortunato Perri Sr.
Fortunato Perri Sr.

Former Traffic Court Administrative Judge Fortunato Perri Sr. hung his head and shielded his eyes with his hand as a federal judge asked Wednesday morning if he understood he was pleading guilty to four felonies after being charged in a massive ticket-fixing scheme on Jan. 31. 

Perri's answers were halting. His attorney said the 76-year-old has suffered "a couple of strokes" but understood the charges and the consequences.  Perri faces up to six months in prison when he is sentenced June 21 but could receive house arrest or probation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Denise Wolf laid out examples in court of wiretapped interstate phone calls that captured Perri discussing tickets to be fixed with strip-club owner Henry "Eddie" Alfano from 2009 to 2011.  Perri admitted Wednesday to taking free car repairs and towing, food, videos, landscaping and a new patio from Alfano and two other business owners that prosecutors identified only by their initials.

U.S. District Judge Robert Kelly accepted Perri's guilty plea to charges of conspiracy, wire fraud and mail fraud. 

After the hearing, Wolf said Perri had signed a non-cooperating plea, which means he is not required to cooperate further with prosecutors.  "It doesn't preclude anything down the road," Wolf added.

Perri, his son and attorney declined to comment as they left the courtroom.

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William Bender, a Drexel graduate who landed at the Daily News in 2007, has covered everything from South Philly mobsters to doomsday hucksters. He occasionally writes about local food trucks and always eats everything on his plate, whether it be a bloody rib eye or a corrupt politician. E-mail tips to benderw@phillynews.com
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David Gambacorta, has been a reporter with the Daily News since 2005, covering crime, police corruption and all of the other bizarre things that happen in Philadelphia. Now he’s covering the 2015 mayor’s race, because he enjoys a good circus just as much as the next guy. He’s always looking to get a cup of coffee. Send news tips and other musings on life to gambacd@phillynews.com
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