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Brooklyn toll collector charged with stealing more than $24,000 by replacing it with fake money

Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. Wikimedia photo by Jim Henderson

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

A temporary Metropolitan Transportation Authority Bridge and Tunnel officer who worked on the Brooklyn side of the Hugh L. Carey (formerly Brooklyn-Battery) Tunnel has been charged with stealing approximately $24,270 in cash tolls and replacing the stolen cash with counterfeit bills, according to the Brooklyn DA’s Office.

“Public tolls are supposed to go into the public treasury – not the pockets of the toll collector,” District Attorney Kenneth Thompson said. “We simply cannot allow employees in positions of trust to rip off the public that they are supposed to serve.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Jonathan Germain, 22, of East Flatbush. Germain was arraigned in Brooklyn Criminal Court this morning on a complaint in which he is charged with 10 counts of first-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and one count of third-degree grand larceny. He was released without bail and ordered to return to court on September 9, 2014.

“We carefully monitor our revenue stream through every step of the collection process and stress to all officers during training that anyone caught stealing will be arrested and fully prosecuted,” said MTA Bridges and Tunnels Chief of Internal Security Donald E. Look.

Germain faces five to 15 years in prison if convicted.

According to the criminal complaint, between May 23, 2014 and June 13, 2014, at or around the Brooklyn side of the toll plaza of the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel, the defendant removed a total of $24,270 from the deposit bags and replaced that amount with counterfeit currency during the course of 10 shifts. It is alleged that the thefts were uncovered after a Bridges and Tunnels contractor tasked with counting toll collections for the agency discovered the counterfeit bills. Upon further investigation, the counterfeit bills were tracked back to the defendant’s deposit bags, which are sealed and marked with an individual barcode associated with each officer.

Furthermore, according to the criminal complaint, the investigators assigned to the case allegedly caught the suspect on videotape near the end of one shift taking fake bills from a brown paper bag and exchanging them with more than $3,000 in cash from his deposit bag.

The case was investigated by Special Investigators Orrin Prince and Jose Vasquez of the Internal Security Department of the Metropolitan Transit Authority Bridges and Tunnels. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Emily Bradford, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Bureau, under the supervision of William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau.

--Matthew Taub of Brooklyn Brief contributing

June 26, 2014 - 8:30am


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