Half a dozen taxi drivers operating in New York City stole thousands of dollars from passengers by overcharging on tolls, city officials announced Monday.
The Department of Investigation said six cabbies pleaded guilty to felony charges of defrauding an estimated 2,000 passengers in years between 2015 and 2018. All six of the defendants have been ordered into a community-based diversion and sentencing program, designed to reduce incarceration.
The announcement Monday identified the six drivers, who were accused of overcharging that group of passengers by a combined total of more than $11,500.
"DOI’s investigation included analyzing driver information, GPS data, and trip data from TLC, and also included identifying suspicious toll charges, reviewing maps developed from the GPS records of the cabs driven by the defendant drivers, creating maps for each suspicious trip and examining each to see if the appropriate toll amount was charged," according to the press release.
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Officials said the drivers were accused of overcharging their fares toll rates that did not account for an E-Pass discount, or charged passengers for tolls when none should have been.
The drivers hail from Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island and Long Island, and range between the ages of 31 and 62. A seventh driver is due in court next month.
“The City’s taxicab industry suffered a devastating economic blow over the last several years and, as a result, so many drivers have directly experienced a grave impact. While we have compassion for all those who have been affected, DOI acted to stop fraud by this group of drivers and protect taxicab passengers from being victimized," Acting DOI Commissioner Daniel Cort said in Monday's announcement.