Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Newark TSA Supervisor Charged With Stealing From Travelers .
A security checkpoint supervisor at Newark Liberty International Airport has been charged with stealing from travelers and accepting bribes from a co-worker who allegedly stole money from passengers during screenings, prosecutors said.
Michael Arato, a supervisory transportation security officer with the Transportation Security Administration at Newark's Terminal B, allegedly looked the other way when a fellow co-worker stole money from passengers undergoing security screenings, receiving a kickback of a portion of the stolen money, prosecutors said. The co-worker is cooperating with the government's probe.
Mr. Arato, 41 years old, allegedly accepted about $3,100 in bribes between Sept. 13 and Oct. 5, prosecutors said. He also allegedly stole money himself from passengers, pocketing about $400 to $700 a shift, prosecutors said.
In order to facilitate their scheme, Mr. Arato and the co-worker allegedly targeted predominately non-English speaking victims, prosecutors said.
Mr. Arato, of Ewing, N.J., is expected to appear in federal court in Newark on Wednesday.
A lawyer for Mr. Arato didn't immediately respond to a request for comment late Tuesday.
"Anytime TSA becomes aware that one of our employees may be engaged in illegal activity of any kind, TSA works closely with law enforcement to quickly investigate and, if appropriate, refer the individual for prosecution to the full extent of the law," a TSA spokesman said in a statement. "TSA will continue to move swiftly and decisively to terminate any employee who engages in illegal activity on the job."