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    Posted: 20 Apr 2006 at 2:48pm
Oh, but privacy and security are no problem with HOT lanes. Interesting.

Conviction in E-ZPass scam in Rockland Co NY

James Simmons, 38, a former ACS manager of the E-ZPass Customer Service Center in Rockland County NY was convicted March 15 for his part a scam in which E-ZPass accounts were set up that, for a payoff, misbilled tolls to bigger corporate customers, including FedEx and UPS. By paying Simmons and his accomplices between $300 to $800 you could get a transponder set that misbilled corporate accounts.

After a 4-day jury trial in County Court in New City, Rockland County Simmons was found guilty of seven counts including second degree grand larceny, falsification of business records, and conspiracy.

Twenty people were arrested last September in the affair. These included Simmons and his ACS colleague at the Customer Service Center, Peter Piantinis, two "middlemen" Edwin Camilo and Rudy Luciano, and sixteen E-ZPass customers who took advantage of the scheme to have their tolls put on other company's accounts rather than being billed themselves. All but Simmons pleaded guilty to larceny charges.

Piantinis was a leading witness for the prosecution against Simmons. Both were fired by ACS last September, and the company says it cooperated in the crackdown on the scam.

Evidence presented in court was that 138 "fixed" transponder accounts were set up during a year (May 2004 and May 2005) when the scame operated. The fixed accounts wrongly put tolls of an estimated $734k onto legitimate corporate accounts. If the average proceeds from fixed transponders was $600 then the racketeers made $83k.
Interview with prosecutor

The case was prosecuted by a Senior Assistant District Attorney William McClarnon. He told us this week the prosecutors' assessment was that Simmons originated the idea for the racket and then developed it with Piantinis, the other ACS manager at the Spring Valley center. They were the second and third ranking officers of ACS at the Spring Valley office.

He said the racket was worked among a group of trash haulers based in New York City, both directly, and through a couple of middlemen from the city. He says the asking price for fixed transponders varied between $300 and $800. The prices went up as time went by. Larger operators likely to get more savings from the misbilling were charged higher rates by Simmons and his gang.

McClarnon said the 16 truckers recruited as customers did not have any record of criminal activity. They appear to have been otherwise law-abiding truckers lured by the savings to be had by the Simmons-Piantinis racket.

from www.tollroadsnews.ocm
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