Former Philadelphia Traffic Court Judge, Michael J. Sullivan, was sentenced to 10 months in a federal facility after pleading guilty in his criminal case.
What was his crime?
He owned a bar in addition to being a Judge. A Judge’s salary is about $190,000.00 a year.
He paid his employees under the table in order to avoid having to pay employment taxes.
Most people know this is a pretty common practice in a cash-type business.
Not that it is right.
Just that it is a pretty common practice.
The question is when is the last time you heard of a bar owner going to prison for paying his employees under the table?
And why did the federal government prosecute Judge Sullivan?
Why him and not 1,000 like him who do the same thing?
Some people think it may have been because he was found not guilty in the Philadelphia traffic fixing scandal recently.
In fact, his attorney alleged in Court that after Judge Sullivan had been found not guilty, he got a call from federal authorities.
He claims they told him we have to do something about Michael Sullivan.
In other words, “Get him”.
Pittsburgh Wrongful Death, Medical Malpractice, Slip & Fall, Car Accident and Criminal Defense Attorney Bernie Tully can tell you from personal experience that the federal government plays hardball. I have represented a lot of criminal defendants in Federal Court.
The allegation that the prosecutors threatened to charge the Judge’s family members linked to his bar if the Judge did not plead guilty, is not at all far fetched.
On the other side is the argument that wrong is wrong.
You are in fact legally required to pay your employees on the books.
As noted above, even if there is a huge underground economy thriving on people working under the table, that does not justify it.
The Assistant United States Attorney responded to the allegations of selective prosecution by saying Judge Sullivan was an elected official who was dishonest for years. He also said that even though the government doesn’t prosecute every bar that does not pay payroll taxes, when evidence is put before it that proves a particular bar owner was violating the law, they have an obligation to respond like they did.
Pittsburgh Wrongful Death, Medical Malpractice, Slip & Fall, Car Accident and Criminal Defense Attorney Bernie Tully thinks everyone will agree that the Judge was wrong in not paying the taxes.
The question for this Blog is was it a matter of selective prosecution?
Did the Feds target this former Judge because he got an acquittal in the prior traffic fixing case in Philadelphia?
Do you believe the Judge was treated unfairly in this case?
Thanks for reading.
Bernie the Attorney