Three New York State motor vehicle clerks and a middleman have been charged with fixing 1,475 traffic tickets for taxi and truck drivers facing suspensions of their licenses, the state inspector general announced on Tuesday.
The scheme, which operated for two years out of the Department of Motor Vehicles offices on Rector Street in downtown Manhattan and Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, involved taxi, truck and other commercial drivers paying hundreds of dollars to have their tickets “lost,” invalidated or changed to lesser infractions, like “improper operation of a bicycle or skateboard,” Inspector General Joseph Fisch said.
“This is merely the beginning of an ongoing case,” Mr. Fisch said, adding in an interview that thousands of other ticket cases were under investigation.
All four suspects have been charged with felony offenses of tampering with public records. One of the clerks, Deborah Perez, 40, of Staten Island, a 19-year employee earning $39,570 a year, was arrested on Tuesday along with the middleman, Robert Vera, 51, of Queens, who was described by officials as a ticket broker who helped drivers get their summonses resolved at the motor vehicle office. The other clerks — Norma Lamboy, 52, an 18-year employee earning $38,520 a year, and her son, Jose Concepcion, 29, both of Brooklyn — were arrested last Thursday.
Ms. Lamboy and Ms. Perez are accused of altering the personal information of drivers so that the tickets would be lost in the database. Mr. Concepcion is accused of reducing the severity of the offenses so that the drivers would not accrue as many points against their licenses.
Mr. Fisch said that motor vehicle investigators uncovered the scheme last year after the two women were disciplined for diverting traffic cases in the state’s database.
The case has been turned over to the Manhattan district attorney for prosecution, Mr. Fisch said.