DISGUSTING Judge John I. Waltman an example of an epidemic of judicial corruption which is only the tip of the iceberg in American courts where DOJ and FBI refuses to investigate or help victims while these scumbags get away with abuse and profit from dishonorable acts.
A former district judge who extorted business owners for bribes, boasted of his ability to control the votes of other elected officials, and lorded over his working-class Bucks County township like an old-school political boss was sentenced Monday to 6½ years in federal prison.
Prosecutors described John I. Waltman’s staggering list of misdeeds — which ranged from fixing a traffic ticket to conspiring to launder $400,000 in what he believed to be proceeds from the illegal sale of drugs — as “a complete abdication of his responsibility as a judge and a public figure.”
But as Waltman, 61, stood before U.S. District Judge Gene E.K. Pratter, he maintained that he entered public service in Lower Southampton Township decades ago with a genuine intent to improve his community — a motivation that became twisted along the way into a fixation on amassing money and power.
“I want to apologize to the citizens of Bucks County and the citizens of Lower Southampton Township,” he said. “I’ve completely betrayed your trust, and you deserved much, much better.”
Monday’s hearing in Philadelphia federal court effectively ended Waltman’s career in public service and began to close the book on a scandal that has roiled Lower Southampton, a working-class community of 19,000 people, since his arrest along with three other township officials.
Several members of Lower Southampton’s police force sat in the courtroom’s back row Monday to watch the sentencing of the man they blamed for tarnishing the reputation of law enforcement in their community.
Meanwhile, Waltman’s lawyer, Louis R. Busico, urged Pratter to consider the good that his client had done, both in his family and in public life. He acknowledged, though, that the former judge’s crimes were vast.
“He has earned the ignominy of this indictment. He has earned the disrepute,” Busico said. “He will forever be the embarrassment of Lower Southampton Township.”
Waltman, a former constable and onetime chairman of Lower Southampton’s Republican committee, served for six years as a district judge after he was appointed in 2010 to replace his sister, who was drummed out of office amid a corruption scandal of her own.
During his tenure, he oversaw minor criminal proceedings and preliminary hearings for defendants facing criminal trials — including Lee Kaplan, the Bucks County man convicted in 2017 of sexually abusing six sisters who had been “gifted” to him by an Amish couple.
But it was his family’s connection to Lower Southampton’s GOP that allowed him to cultivate deep ties in local politics that extended far beyond his small courtroom in Feasterville.
Caught on an FBI wire, he boasted of his ability to swing votes on Lower Southampton’s Republican-held township council in exchange for kickbacks. He surrounded himself with a network of government employees to aid in those corrupt plans, including a deputy constable, Bernard Rafferty; the township’s former solicitor, Michael Savona; and its public safety director, Robert Hoopes.
‘I’ve completely betrayed your trust’: Corrupt ex-Bucks judge gets 6½ years in federal prison
‘This is Lower South. I know everything there is to know’: Corrupt Bucks County judge pleads guilty
Feds: Judge reigned over Lower Southampton through bribery, extortion, sway with township board
After FBI sting, questions remain for Bucks officials