Undercover sting ends with 16 JFK cab dispatchers arrested for bribery

Cabs wait in the rain in the big lot at Kennedy Airport in New York.  Credit: Michael Trueblood/Getty Images
Cabs wait in the rain in the big lot at Kennedy Airport in New York.
Credit: Michael Trueblood/Getty Images

Sixteen airport taxi dispatchers were arrested and charged with allegedly receiving unlawful bribes after an undercover operation found some drivers paid to cut the line for passengers.

After receiving a tip December 2012, investigators found dispatchers would receive cash payments as low as $10 in exchange for skipping the lines to go pick up passengers at John F. Kennedy Airport’s terminals.

On average, taxis hang out in the holding area for two to three hours. The dispatchers cut that wait time down significantly for any driver who would pony up.

While the cash amounts were low, busy days and thousands of cabs could result in hundreds of dollars in just one day’s shift, said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown in a statement.

The Port Authority’s New Jersey-based subcontractor Gateway Group One Frontline Services — which hired the dispatchers — has already launched a new, real-time tracking system to prevent a repeat of the scam.

“These defendants sold out their position of public trust and chose to line their pockets and enrich themselves, said Port Authority Inspector General Robert Van Etten in a statement. “The defendants took unfair advantage of a dispatching process that was created to provide a level playing field for all cab drivers.”

Those arrested include: Franklin Andrews, 36, of Brooklyn; Jessica Augilla, 24, of Brooklyn; Duwayne Bayliss, 34, of Queens; Kevin Dean, 52, of Queens; Ana Hernandez, 33, of Brooklyn; Lennox Ifill, 62, of Queens; Jahreme Joefield, 33, of Queens; Jean Legerme, 30, of Brooklyn; Rasheeda Lewis-Gordon, 37, of 351 Wynona Street in Brooklyn; Andrew Mayers, 60, of Brooklyn; Jaccain Montauban, 30, of Queens; Keisa Munroe, 36, of the Bronx; Wag Yum Ng, 56, of Queens; Steffany Persaud, 23, of Brooklyn; Manuel Roman, 31, of Brooklyn; and Natasha Stoute, 30, of Queens.

The dispatchers were were taken to Queens Criminal Court, where they face misdemeanor charges for receiving commercial bribes, taking unlawful gratuities and official misconduct — each of which are punishable by up to one year in jail.

Follow Chester Jesus Soria on Twitter @chestersoria



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

US military tried, but failed to rescue journalist…

The U.S. military earlier this year tried to rescue journalist James Foley and other American hostages held in Syria ,but failed to find the captives.

National

Fate of captured beluga whales in hands of…

A Georgia aquarium went to court on Wednesday seeking federal permission to bring 18 captured beluga whales to the United States from Russia.

Local

After Eric Garner death, religious leaders meet to…

Interfaith leaders convened with city officials to discuss what the community can do to help dial down heightened tensions after Eric Garner's death.

Local

'Suspicious' Hamilton Heights fire caused by power strip:…

An extension cord overload caused the deadly fire in Hamilton Heights late Monday that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured at least 12 others.

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

And then there were six. It was a big night on stage as the Top 6 got to dance with each other, All-star partners and perform a solo routine.

Going Out

5 things to do in NYC this weekend…

FILM Lebowski Fest Aug. 22-23, 8 p.m. Various locations, Manhattan $20-$30, www.lebowskifest.com The Dude abides — for 48 hours to celebrate the 1998 Coen brothers classic.…

Television

'Doctor Who' personality profile: the 4 Doctors

When the time comes for a new Doctor, there's always some anxiety over the big question: Who will he be? The series owes its longevity…

Television

Billy Crystal to commemorate late actor Robin Williams…

  Comedian Billy Crystal will pay tribute to late actor Robin Williams at television's Primetime Emmy Awards on Aug. 25, the show's organizers said on…

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

NFL

Jalen Saunders still unsure what caused car accident…

Jets rookie wide receiver Jalen Saunders spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time since his car accident, but he didn't say a whole lot.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Wellbeing

Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…

Wellbeing

Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…