"Bob Mulgrew is a man's man," said Brian McMonagle, Elizabeth Mulgrew's lawyer. "He came in here today and he wanted to make sure above all else all the charges against his wife would be dismissed. They were, he's accepted responsibility, now we're prepared for sentencing."
Mulgrew, 56, had been facing a mountain of felony charges including 30 counts of mail fraud for his theft of state grant funds meant for a community-improvement group, of which he was vice president.
He and Elizabeth, 56, also were charged with five counts of filing false joint personal-income taxes and one count of tax evasion. Those crimes resulted in the couple underpaying taxes by as much as $80,000 from 2005 through 2010, prosecutors said.
Mulgrew, in a monotone, instead stood before U.S. District Judge C. Darnell Jones II and pleaded guilty to just two felony counts: mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud; and filing a false personal-income-tax return.
Mulgrew faces a maximum sentence of 23 years in federal prison, five years of supervised release and a fine of $500,000 when Jones sentences him Dec. 16.
The sentence length will be partly based on the amount of grant money Mulgrew stole and cheated from his taxes. Although the grant theft is estimated at between $50,000 and $100,000, the actual amount is still being determined along with his tax liability, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Gray.
The plea deal does not require that Mulgrew testify against anyone, including state Rep. Bill Keller, who secured the state grant funds for Friends of Dickinson Square - the organization that Mulgrew defrauded.
Keller has not been charged with any wrongdoing, but his former administrative aide, Lorraine DiSpaldo, pleaded guilty in April to stealing $180,000 from the Friends grant and from a second grant. She is awaiting sentencing in November.
Gray declined to say whether Keller was a target of an investigation or why he was not charged along with Mulgrew and DiSpaldo.
"My job description does not allow me to discuss how we made our decision about who is and who is not going to be charged," he said. "We can't do it, and it wouldn't be proper to do it in a public forum anyway."
Keller's office, home and business were raided by the feds, who carried out boxes of evidence in August 2010.
From about 2002 to 2009, Mulgrew pinched from $295,000 in state grants meant to spruce up Dickinson Square Park at 4th and Tasker streets and its surrounding community.
Gray told the jury yesterday that Mulgrew used the stolen money to buy a pickup truck, meals, gasoline, personal items and to improperly hire family and friends for jobs that were sometimes outside the scope of the grant agreement.
"The abuse of public funds is completely unwarranted, unnecessary and . . . essentially offensive," Gray said. "We take these kinds of crimes seriously."
Mulgrew was suspended from the bench when he was indicted last September. Gov. Corbett signed legislation abolishing city Traffic Court in June, following years of scandal and corruption.
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