License plates from trash helped NYC worker duck toll fees
NEW YORK CITY, NY – One car’s trash was this man’s treasure. A New York City sanitation worker used license plates plucked from the garbage to dodge thousands of dollars in tickets and tolls, authorities said Wednesday.
Jason Rivera of Staten Island racked up more than $17,000 in fines and fees issued to the trashed license plates that were on his car for about two years, according to the city’s Department of Investigation.
The 45-year-old worker was arrested Wednesday and the plates were found on his car in the Brooklyn garage where he worked, officials said. He’s charged with grand larceny and obstructing governmental administration, the DOI said.
“These kinds of crimes undermine the government’s ability to do its job and maintain a standard of safety on the roads,” DOI Commissioner Margaret Garnett said in a statement. “These offenses are particularly egregious when committed by a City employee who used his job as a means to commit the crime, according to the charges.”
Rivera, a 13-year Sanitation Department veteran, took the license plates out of the trash in 2016 and gave them to a friend to use, officials said. Rivera put the plates in his own car when the friend returned them the following year, according to the DOI.
While they were on the vehicle, Rivera racked up 72 traffic or parking violations worth $5,500, nearly $1,800 in unpaid tolls and $10,600 in unpaid fees, the department said.
The penalties could not be collected because the plates were not registered to any vehicle, according to the DOI.
Rivera faces up to seven years in prison if convicted of the grand larceny charge and up to a year behind bars for the obstructing governmental administration charge, the DOI said.
The Department of Sanitation has suspended Rivera from his job and is conducting its own probe, which could lead to further disciplinary action against him, agency spokesperson Belinda Mager said.
Rivera appeared in Brooklyn Criminal Court Wednesday and is due back on Oct. 10, online court records show. His attorney could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday morning.