A former airport security supervisor pleaded guilty to accepting bribes and sentenced to 30 months in prison after taking kickbacks from a TSA officer who was allegedly stealing from passengers.
According to prosecutors, Michael Arato, 42, accepted approximately $1300 in bribes from a former TSA officer who was stealing from passengers.
The thefts occurred between September 2009 and October 2010, and up to $30,000 was taken from travelers. Al Raimi, 29, pleaded guilty to charges of theft by a government officer in February. He is currently scheduled for sentencing in September.
Arato also admitted in court that he had regularly stolen money from passengers who went through his checkpoint.
Along with the over two year jail sentence, U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares ordered Arato to pay $24,150 to the victims of the theft, along with $3100 to the Department of Homeland Security.
This is not the first time that TSA officers at Newark have come under fire for theft. In 2008, baggage screener Pythias Brown was charged with stealing over 100 items out of passengers, including a CNN camera which he reportedly tried to sell on eBay.
Last week, a TSA worker was indicted in Orlando a federal theft charge.
Elliot Iglesias, 30, was working as a baggage screener when he was accused of stealing four laptops and a mobile wi-fi device.
On the theft, TSA spokesman Jon Allen said:
"TSA holds its security officers to the highest professional and ethical standards and has a zero-tolerance policy for theft in the workplace. Allegations of misconduct are aggressively investigated and swift action is taken to end the federal careers of offenders. The actions of a few individuals in no way reflect on the outstanding job our more than 45,000 security officers do every day to ensure the security of the traveling public."