Municipal Employee Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud Conspiracy
First Guilty Plea in Ongoing Investigation of Excess Vehicle Auctions at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority
A Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) employee pleaded guilty on Jan. 30 to conspiring with other individuals to engage in wire fraud in connection with MTA excess vehicle auctions.
According to a plea agreement, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in New York City, MTA employee Timour Abramov engaged in a conspiracy with other individuals to thwart the competitive bidding process on numerous excess vehicle auctions conducted by the MTA to ensure that a company controlled by him and a co-conspirator submitted the winning bid and would be awarded the contract. As part of the conspiracy, an MTA sales specialist and co-conspirator provided Abramov confidential pricing information in violation of MTA rules.
“New Yorkers rely on the MTA and this criminal scheme boils down to stealing from the public,” said Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. “We will continue to detect and punish those that abuse the public trust.”
“Abusing access to confidential MTA information to interfere with a fair and competitive process undermines the public trust in that process and unfairly reflects on tens of thousands of honest, hardworking MTA employees," said Acting MTA Inspector General Elizabeth Keating. “Our office is grateful for the diligence and commitment from our law enforcement partners at the Department of Justice, who work to ensure that individuals attempting to defraud the MTA are held fully responsible for their actions.”
“The public loses faith in governmental systems when members of an agency don't adhere to policies and procedures created to promote transparency and fairness,” said Special Agent-in-Charge James E. Dennehy of the FBI Newark Division. “This investigation demonstrates our commitment to holding accountable those who abuse their positions for their own financial gain.”
Abramov pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud conspiracy that carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. The fines may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victim of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine. A federal district court judge will determine the defendant’s sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The Antitrust Division’s New York Office, the Office of the MTA Inspector General, and the FBI Newark's Atlantic City Resident Agency investigated this case.
In November 2019, the Department of Justice created the PCSF, a joint law enforcement effort to combat antitrust crimes and related fraudulent schemes that impact government procurement, grant, and program funding at all levels of government – federal, state and local. For more information, visit https://www.justice.gov/procurement-collusion-strike-force.