Fifty-nine taxi drivers who were implicated in a massive passenger fraud scheme earlier this year were arrested by police today. These drivers were considered the "worst of the worst" offenders, charging passengers out-of-town rates while still within city limits. Altogether, taxi drivers ripped passengers off approximately $1.1 million during the course of 286,000 trips in a 20-month period. "Although these drivers stole from their customers a few dollars at a time, these scams amounted to a massive fraud that cast suspicion on an industry that is a vital part of our life and economy," said Manhattan DA Cy Vance.
Some of the drivers arrested will be charged with felonies, others with misdemeanors, and if convicted, could face up to four years in prison. Among those arrested were two of the absolute worst offenders, Santiago Rossi and Mfamara Camara. Rossi, 66, overcharged riders approximately $11,066.45 over the course of 5,127 trips. Camara, 38, ripped riders off $15,502.30, over just 4,772 trips. Previously, the six worst offenders were all fined and had their licenses revoked. Some still have questions about the validity of the investigation: "We still question what evidence the DA has when all of this is based on a technology known for misreporting and breakdowns," said Bhairavi Desai, head of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance.