A significant portion of day 16 in the Philadelphia Traffic Court trial was devoted to the role of businessman Robert Moy’s translation service in an alleged scheme to fix tickets.
One of the first witnesses to testify in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on Monday was ticket holder Jin Jiang, who received two traffic citations from Philadelphia police. Jiang accepted the government’s offer of immunity and delivered his testimony through a translator.
Jiang testified that he knew Moy for roughly 10 years “because of traffic tickets.” He explained that he learned about Moy’s Chinatown business, Number One Translations, from an ad in the newspaper.
Seeking to avoid having points assessed against his license, Jiang went to Moy’s business with the understanding that he could pay the fines and Moy would be able to ensure that Jiang would receive no points.
Jiang further testified that the issuing officer for one of his tickets told him that there would be no points assessed against him if he paid the fine. After visiting the Philadelphia Traffic Court cashier, Jiang testified that he was told that the citations would, in fact, carry points.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Denise Wolf asked Jiang what he paid Moy for his services. Jiang replied he paid $450 for both tickets and that no points were attached to his license. “They know the process,” Jiang testified, adding that he did not appear in court to defend himself.
Moy’s attorney, Paul Hetznecker, asked Jiang if the staff of Moy’s business told him he would be represented by an attorney in the matter. “Yes,” Jiang replied. “Over the phone.”
“You didn’t see him at all during the time period you went to see Number One Translations about these tickets at all, did you?” Hetznecker asked.
“That’s right,” Jiang answered.
On redirect examination, Wolf asked Jiang if he knew an attorney was representing him in traffic court.
“Prior to the court date there was a phone call saying I didn’t have to go and that the lawyer would take care of it,” Jiang said.
Wolf asked Jiang if he knew the lawyer’s name, had ever met the lawyer, or knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that a lawyer actually represented him. Jiang answered no to all three questions.
“I don’t know,” Jiang said, claiming that he hired Moy’s business to process the ticket. “Whether or not they hired lawyers to process [the ticket] I don’t know.”
An additional ticket holder, Stephen Cao, testified that he went to Moy for traffic tickets, particularly to avoid points.
Cao testified, with the aid of a translator, that he used Moy for traffic-citation matters several times, noting that Moy would always “take care of it.”
With regard to points, Cao said Moy told him, “It would be fine.”
In addition to testimony on Number One Translations, other ticket holders took to the witness stand to talk about their traffic citations.
Vincent Borrelli, the former chief of security for Camden Iron & Metal Inc., testified that he had to represent his company in traffic court after one of its drivers received several tickets while driving a tractor-trailer.
Borrelli testified that he was a Philadelphia police officer for 20 years and a police chief for jurisdictions in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and for the Delaware River Port Authority prior to working at Camden Iron. He also said he was close friends with Henry P. Alfano, former traffic court director of records William Hird, and former Judge Fortunato Perri Sr.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Wzorek asked Borrelli if Alfano was instrumental in securing him a job at Camden Iron. Borrelli said he was. Wzorek also asked Borrelli how long he had known Hird, to which Borrelli responded 30 to 35 years.
Borrelli testified that he called Hird prior to the impoundment hearing for the truck because “I was not aware of what their procedure was.”
The prosecution played a recorded phone conversation in which Borrelli contacted Hird, reminding him that he would be in court the next day.
“I had a longstanding personality clash with [former traffic court Judge] Bernice DeAngelis about parking in the back” of the traffic court building. “The only way I could get in is with him [Hird] giving permission.”
Wzorek, appearing skeptical, asked Borrelli, “The purpose of this conversation here was to ensure that you had a parking space when you came down to traffic court?”
Wzorek noted that Borrelli never mentioned parking to Hird in the recording, but did mention the four tickets attached to the truck.
Borrelli said he called Hird “to get leniency or some consideration for them [the tickets].” However, Borrelli later testified that he did not intend for Hird to mean that the tickets should be fixed.
The prosecution then played another tape, this time taking place the day before the impoundment hearing, in which Hird repeatedly confirmed to Borrelli that they would meet for coffee.
Wzorek, apparently skeptical as to the call’s true nature, asked Borrelli, Hird’s “not talking in code to you here?” Borrelli said no, and that Hird repeated himself sometimes due to poor hearing.
Defendant Michael Lowry’s attorney, William DeStefano of Stevens & Lee, asked Borrelli if he and Hird did actually have coffee that day. Borrelli said yes.
“Did you feel like you needed any help on these tickets?” DeStefano asked.
“No, I didn’t ask to fix tickets, just leniency or consideration,” Borrelli said.