FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Former Manager of Goal Ball Team and Two Others Charged With Stealing $65,000 From Paratransit Access-A-Ride Program
Visually Impaired Defendants Allegedly Reimbursed For Falsified Taxi Rides
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, together with Metropolitan Transportation Authority Inspector General Barry L. Kluger, today announced that three men have been charged with second-degree grand larceny and other charges for allegedly stealing approximately $65,000 by using falsified taxi receipts to receive reimbursement from the MTA through a transportation program available to the disabled.
District Attorney Thompson said, “Many disabled people depend on the Access-A-Ride program for transportation. These defendants allegedly exploited their own disability and that of some teammates to steal from the program. Their alleged acts are egregious and they will now be held accountable.”
Inspector General Kluger said, “Stealing from a reimbursement program designed to further assist our disabled fellow citizens is a particularly heinous and heartless act. Along with our investigation, we recently issued a report to the MTA NYC Transit Paratransit Division recommending specific measures for improving both fraud prevention and detection. I want to commend the Paratransit employees for their diligence in identifying suspicious activity, and thank the District Attorney for furthering our investigative efforts and prosecuting this case.”
The District Attorney identified the defendants as Lamar Brown, 34, of the Bronx; Eric Randolph, 43, of Manhattan; and Ibraheem Shahadat, 23, of Brooklyn. Brown and Randolph are charged in a criminal complaint with one count of second-degree grand larceny, 740 counts of first-degree falsifying business documents, 740 counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing and 740 counts of third-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument. Shahadat is charged in a separate complaint with third-degree grand larceny, 206 counts of first-degree falsifying business records and 206 counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing.
Brown, who was arrested this morning, is presently awaiting arraignment in Brooklyn Criminal Court. Randolph and Shahadat were arraigned on April 9, 2015 and released without bail.
The District Attorney said that, according to the complaint against Brown and Randolph, between December 2011and August 2013, the defendants engaged in a scheme to steal approximately $51,784 from the New York City Transit Paratransit Access-A-Ride program by submitting 740 falsified car service receipts to Paratransit headquarters in Brooklyn. The receipts purportedly reflected trips from eight different car service companies costing between $30 and $80 a trip and traversing all five boroughs. The defendants received $51,784 in reimbursement checks as a result of the scheme.
The District Attorney further said that, according to the complaint, in addition to receiving reimbursement for falsified trips taken in their own names, the defendants also received reimbursement for trips in the names of five other visually impaired persons, four of whom were on the same goal ball team.
The District Attorney said that, according to a separate complaint, between March 2010 and November 2012, defendant Shahadat engaged in a scheme to steal approximately $13,778, from the New York City Transit Paratransit Access-A-Ride program by submitting 206 falsified car service receipts to Paratransit headquarters in Brooklyn. Each of the receipts purportedly reflected trips from Skyline Car Service costing between $30 and $80.
The District Attorney said that the alleged theft was discovered by Paratransit after some odd ride patterns were discovered, e.g., one person seeking reimbursement for five trips in one day traversing the entire City.
The case was investigated by Metropolitan Transportation Authority Office of the Inspector General Senior Investigative Attorney Maura Daly, former Auditor Marco Dias and Senior Principal Investigator John Flannery with the assistance of Detective Sonia Wakefield of the New York City Police Department’s Brooklyn District Attorney Squad.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Cooper W. Gorrie, of the District Attorney’s Cybercrimes Unit, Frauds Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Felice Sontupe, Bureau Chief and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.
A criminal complaint is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.