More than a dozen taxi dispatchers at Kennedy Airport were arrested Wednesday for allegedly running a cash-for-passengers bribery scheme with hacks, according to the Queens district attorney.
DA Richard Brown alleged that the 16 dispatchers arrested were caught in a sting operation taking money from hacks for priority pickups. The dispatchers — eight from Brooklyn, seven from Queens and one from the Bronx — were caught taking $10 from undercover taxi drivers and allowing them to ride past lines from the central holding area so they could snag passengers at terminals, the DA said.
“On busy days, thousands of cabs pass through JFK’s terminals during an eight-hour shift – giving a dishonest dispatcher the opportunity to illegally make hundreds of dollars on a daily basis,” Brown said in a statement.
The dispatchers, employed through a Port Authority subcontractor called Gateway Group One Frontline Services, were caught in a sting operation after the agency’s inspector general’s office received a tip in December 2012, according to the DA’s office. The company did not return a request for comment. The defendants are awaiting arraignment at Queens Criminal Court on charges of receiving a commercial bribe, official misconduct and receiving unlawful gratuities.
Since the investigation, Gateway and Port Authority developed a taxi-tracking system at the agency’s airports.