Third Defendant Sentenced in Traffic Court Case
PHILADELPHIA—William Hird, 69, of Philadelphia, PA, was sentenced today to 24 months in prison for his role in a fraud scheme involving judges at the former Philadelphia Traffic Court. Hird, who was Director of Records at the time, pleaded guilty in January to 18 counts, including conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud and lying to the FBI when questioned about ticket fixing at Traffic Court. Hird is the third defendant sentenced in the fraud conspiracy that involved frequent and pervasive “ticket-fixing” at the Philadelphia Traffic Court. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Robert F. Kelly ordered Hird to pay a $5,000 fine and ordered one year of supervised release.
Former traffic court judge Fortunato Perri, Sr., who pleaded guilty on March 13, 2013, would receive traffic citation numbers, the names of offenders, or the actual citations to arrange “fixing” the ticket and would convey the information to William Hird. Hird, in turn, allegedly conveyed the request to the assigned judge or the judge’s staff. Hird was extremely loyal to Perri given that Perri helped Hird move up the ladder to a high-level administrator at Traffic Court. Recorded conversations demonstrate that Hird acceded to Perri’s requests to “fix” certain tickets. Given Hird’s position at Traffic Court and access to the judges, Hird was able to facilitate requests for ticket fixing for Perri.
As part of the scheme, tickets were “fixed” by either being dismissed, finding the ticket holder “not guilty,” or finding the ticket holder guilty of a lesser offense. In many cases, the ticket holder did not even appear in Traffic Court, yet their ticket was “fixed.” As a result, the ticketholders paid lesser or no fines and costs, and evaded the assessment of points on their driving record.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Denise S. Wolf and Anthony J. Wzorek.