Sixteen people, all employees of a Port Authority contractor in charge of taxi dispatching at JFK Airport, have been arrested for allegedly taking part in a scheme in which they took cash bribes in exchange for allowing taxi drivers to circumvent dispatching rules at the airport, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
The suspects have been identified as Franklin Andrews, 36, Jessica Augilla, 24, Jean Legerme, 30, Ana Hernandez, 33, Rasheeda Lewis-Gordon, 37, Andrew Mayers, 60, Steffany Persaud, 23 and Manuel Roman, 31, all of Brooklyn; Duwayne Bayliss, 34, Kevin Dean, 52, Lennox Ifill, 62, Jahreme Joefield, 33, and Jaccain Montauban, 30, all of Jamiaca; Wag Yum Ng, 56, of Bayside; Natasha Stoute, 30, of Far Rockaway and Keisa Munroe, 36, of the Bronx.
The alleged scheme was uncovered in December 2012 when the Port Authority Inspector General’s Office received an anonymous call alleging that dispatchers at JFK Airport were permitting cab drivers to respond to airport terminals without waiting in the central taxi holding lot, which is required. After a preliminary review, the IG and the Brown’s Airport Investigations Unit launched an investigation, which included the use of confidential informants and electronic surveillance to substantiate the alleged illegal activity.
According to the criminal charges, between December 2012 and February 2014, the defendant dispatchers are alleged to have accepted cash payments of ten dollars to allow undercover taxi drivers to skip long lines in the central taxi holding area and instead go directly to the terminals to pick up passengers, despite the fact that the drivers had not waited in the central taxi holding area nor possessed a shorty ticket.
The defendants are pending arraignment on complaints charging them with second-degree commercial bribe receiving, official misconduct and receiving unlawful gratuities, each of which is punishable by up to one year in jail.