The NYPD on Wednesday arrested more than a dozen Battery Park vendors who allegedly sold fake tickets for Statue of Liberty tours. According to the city, unsuspecting tourists who purchased the tickets ended up on ferries that circled New York Harbor without the advertised stopovers at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

Now 21 vendors are facing fraudulent accosting charges as part of an ongoing investigation into ticket selling at Battery Park, Deputy Commissioner for Counterterrorism John Miller told the NY Times. Fourteen suspects were in custody yesterday.

"These aggressive ticket sellers preyed largely on people that they identified as tourists, particularly foreign tourists, by promising them that the tickets to the Statue of Liberty boat were all sold out, but that if they bought these tickets, it would take them to Liberty Island and they would have to charge a little extra and so on," Miller told the paper.

The suspects worked for five different harbor tour ticket companies. The only ferry with city approval to dock at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island is Statue Cruises, which has its own vendors on site.

Several of the arrestees are either on parole or probation, according to the NYPD.

"What the investigation revealed was that you had a large number of people who were on parole or probation, mostly parole for serious crimes—assault, narcotics, robbery... which began to explain some of the background, this pattern of criminal activity involved in the ticket sales,” Miller told CBS.

Finding a job is a condition of parole for many ex-cons in NYC, but discrimination against job applicants with criminal records—though technically illegal—is common.

The NYPD's targeted Battery Park investigation launched in February, after a vendor was charged with misdemeanor assault for allegedly fracturing a tourist's skull. Tactics involved deploying undercover cops posing as tourists in the park, and near the ferry terminal.

That same incident was cited as inspiration for new legislation that would require ticket agents to obtain licenses from the city Department of Consumer Affairs for $125. The proposed law would also make selling tickets without a license or "in an aggressive manner" a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to three months in jail and a $250-$1,000 fine. Ticket selling would be banned in pedestrian plazas, as well as narrow sidewalks and areas within one block of a park.

The upswell of quality of life concerns near the ferry depot in recent months mirrors a similar crusade in Times Square, where arrests of costumed characters accused of aggressive solicitation have gotten ample tabloid attention. The Times Square Alliance, a local business interest group, launched a high-profile and ultimately successful campaign this spring to confine costumed characters, ticket sellers and desnudas to so-called "activity zones" as soon as this summer. And legislation that would require costumed characters to apply for licenses is similar to the ticket seller bill, albeit with lower fees and fines.

Critics of the proposed ticket vendor legislation say that the proposed regulations could strangle business for law-abiding vendors, giving the NYPD excessive leeway to disperse and fine them.