Two Valley Stream men are among seven taxi dispatchers accused of accepting bribes from drivers for preferential treatment at LaGuardia Airport, officials said Wednesday.
Louis Evens, 57, and Gary Luc Valerius, 55, allowed taxi drivers to skip the dispatch pool at the airport and pick up passengers before other drivers, according to a statement by the Queens district attorney's office.
Evens and Valerius, dispatchers for Gateway Group One Frontline Services, a New York-New Jersey Port Authority contractor, were tasked with sending available taxis from a holding area to pick up passengers as flights arrived at the airport, the district attorney's office said.DA: 16 cab dispatchers charged in schemeNYC crime ratesphotosRecent NYC mug shots
The wait times for drivers in the pool can be as long as three hours. The seven dispatchers accepted bribes of $5 to $10 each time they allowed drivers to skip the line, officials said.
The Port Authority's office of the inspector general and Queens district attorney's airport investigations unit launched an investigation after receiving complaints from drivers in January. They used confidential informants and electronic surveillance between February and June, according to the statement.
The seven were arrested Wednesday morning, according to the statement. They were awaiting arraignment Wednesday afternoon in Queens Criminal Court.
Three of the other dispatchers charged are from Queens, officials said, and two are from the Bronx.
Evens was charged with three counts each of second-degree commercial bribe receiving, official misconduct and receiving unlawful gratuities. Valerius was charged with seven counts each of second-degree commercial bribe receiving, official misconduct and receiving unlawful gratuities.
Relatives of Evens and Valerius were not available for comment. Information on their attorneys was not available Wednesday night.
Both men face up to a year in prison if convicted.