Nearly 60 taxi drivers were arrested yesterday for collectively — and sneakily — cheating more than 75,000 passengers out of $235,000 by charging the suburban rate for city trips over a 20-month period, according to the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
Following a joint probe with the Taxi and Limousine Commission and the Department of Investigation, DA Cyrus Vance charged 45 of the cabbies with felonies — scheme to defraud in the first degree. The other 14 were hit with 5,000 counts of misdemeanor petit larceny.
“These scams amounted to a massive fraud that cast suspicion on an industry that is a vital part of our life and economy in New York City,” Vance said.
The suburban rate is double that within city limits. A bilked passenger tipped off the TLC, which launched an investigation using data from the cabs including GPS coordinates and other trip sheet data. Many of the fraudulent pick-ups were made at tourist hot spots: Central Park, LaGuardia Airport, Grand Central Station and Wall Street.
One of the indicted drivers used the suburban rate more than 5,000 times, stealing more than $11,000 in the scheme; another netted more than $15,000 from 4,772 trips. The TLC is reportedly pursuing penalties against 2,000 drivers believed to have overcharged riders.