A 41-year-old man has been indicted for allegedly trying to bribe a city worker to obtain much-coveted pedicab registration plates outside of the registration plate lottery, according to prosecutors.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg announced the indictment against Brooklyn resident Shokhru Alimov, who allegedly offered a $60,000 bribe to an employee of the city’s Department of Consumer and Worker Protection for 34 pedicab registration plates on May 10, 2023.
Each year, the city offers 840 licenses to operate pedicabs — the tricycles pulling a hooded carriage to carry passengers, many of whom are tourists. The licenses are doled out during the DCWP’s annual pedicab registration plate lottery, and last for only one year.
Individuals and businesses are only allowed to operate up to 30 registered pedicabs, which can charge around $45 per hour, or flat rates for set routes.
The DCWP worker, after receiving Alimov’s alleged bribe at the Central Park North Meadow Recreation Center, immediately reported the overture to the city’ Department of Investigations.
Once the DOI got involved, they set up seven meetings (two in-person, and five phone calls) between the DCWP employee and Alimov — who offered additional bribes. He allegedly offered $7,500 to obtain 15 pedicab registration plates immediately, and another $7,500 in November, when the licenses were set to expire, for them to be renewed.
Separately, Alimov also promised the employee that he had ordered additional pedicabs from a manufacturer, and said he would pay for additional registrations once those arrived.
After the employee, working in concert with the DOI, and Alimov finalized their “agreement,” the suspect met with the employee and a DOI investigator posing as a DCWP licensing official in Manhattan on June 6, where he handed over the first $7,500, according to prosecutors.
He was arrested on the scene and charged with one count of bribery in the second degree.
“Our Rackets Bureau roots out fraud in all its forms and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure government programs are not affected by corruption and bribery,” said Bragg. “Pedicab licensing restrictions exist for the safety of New Yorkers and all those who visit the city. This alleged bribery harms honest, law-abiding operators who are pushed out by those trying to game the system.”
DOI Commissioner Strauber praised the DCWP employee for reporting Alimov’s alleged bribes, and said they would continue to root out similar instances of corruption.
“The City employee, who had received DOI’s anti-corruption training, promptly and properly reported the alleged offer to DOI, leading to further investigation and this bribery charge,” Strauber said. “I thank this employee for stepping forward and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for its long-standing partnership in the fight against bribery and corruption.”