February 22, 2024

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MTA crackdown arrests 44 scammers who owe nearly $1 million in fees

MTA crackdown arrests 44 scammers who owe nearly $1 million in fees

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An MTA enforcement sweep this week arrested 44 vehicles owned by persistent toll evaders who owe nearly $1 million in unpaid fees and fines, officials said.

“It’s about basic fairness,” said Janno Lieber, MTA president He told reporters Friday.

“It is not right that drivers, some in Mercedes and Porsches, are getting on our bridges and through tunnels and evading thousands and thousands of dollars in tolls.”

A four-day crackdown on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge linking Staten Island and Brooklyn led to the seizure of cars and trucks of every description — from a white BMW and a black Mercedes sedan to a garbage truck owned by a private transportation company.

“There’s a Range Rover in the back and the guy owes $50,000,” Leeper said.

MTA officers stopped this vehicle on the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge on Friday after a license plate reader flagged it as a continuing toll violation. Mark A. Hermann/MTA

All of the vehicles had fake out-of-state license plates that New York’s cashless toll collection system couldn’t track, or legitimate plates disguised with plastic covers that blocked toll cameras.

MTA President Jano Lieber showed examples of fake paper license plates at a press conference on Friday. Mark A. Hermann/MTA

The 44 defendants owe the MTA a total of $922,500 — a small fraction of the $46 million in revenue the MTA estimated it had. Lost to evade fees In 2022.

Some of those who got stuck in the tow net were found to be uninsured or driving on a suspended license.

Vehicles caught in the MTA sweep are stored under the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge until tolls and fines are paid. Mark A. Hermann/MTA

Officials said that the vehicles were impounded and the registration of the cars was suspended until the matter was settled with their owners.

Enforcement officers from the MTA, NYPD, and New York State Police intercepted 2,705 vehicles for toll evasion this year — a 50% increase from 2022 — as the transit agency struggles to close a massive budget gap that, it says, justifies a pricing plan Controversial new congestion.

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