Tyco, BCCI, Barclays…the storied tradition of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office continues to this very day. Ranging from a few sheckles to over $10,000, 59 taxi cab drivers have been arrested by law enforcement in an unparalleled scheme after they finished working their twelve hours shifts for cranky New Yorkers. According to District Attorney Cyrus Vance, the alleged evil offenders bilked passengers out of a collective $235,000. Despite these allegations, according to at least one individual with knowledge of the case, it is plausible that some of the accused may be victims of an imperfect system that did not properly calibrate, calculate or maintain the correct fees. Others, including a man alleged to have stolen over $10,000, may not have such a defense or the sympathy of any New Yorker who has been scammed by a cabbie.
Facing the charges of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, an “E” felony punishable by up to four years in prison, and Petit Larceny, an “A” misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, many of these cab drivers have bigger and greater collateral issues to be concerned about. Not only do they run the risk of forfeiting their ability to drive a cab and provide for their families, but if they are not citizens they will certainly have immigration consequences as well.
Robert Morgenthau always stressed the importance of fighting crime in the suites as well as the streets. In other words, both violent and street crimes as well as crimes of fraud and deceit must be vigorously prosecuted whether perpetrated by the City’s poorest or Her elite. Here, DA Vance has, for now, combined the two.
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