NEWARK– A former Supervisory Transportation Security Officer employed by the Transportation Security Administration at Newark Liberty International Airport was sentenced Tuesday to 30 months in prison for accepting bribes and kickbacks from a coworker who stole money regularly from passengers during security screenings, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Michael Arato, 42, of Ewing, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares to accepting bribes. According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, between September 2009 and October 2010, Arato was the Supervisory Transportation Security Officer at the B-3 security checkpoint for Terminal B at Newark Airport.
During that time, Arato permitted subordinate security officer Al Raimi, 29, of Woodbridge, to steal between $10,000 and $30,000 in cash from travelers. In exchange, Raimi would “kick up” a portion of the stolen money to Arato. During the three-week period between September 13 and October 5, 2010, video surveillance captured Arato accepting approximately $3,100 in bribes.
Arato also admitted that he regularly stole from passengers traveling through his checkpoint.
In addition to the prison term, Linares sentenced Arato to three years of supervised release, and ordered him to pay $24,150 to the victims of his offense and forfeit $3,100 to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Raimi pleaded guilty before Linares on Feb. 24 and is currently scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 20.
Fishman credited special agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory K. Null for the Northeast Region, and detectives and officers of the Port Authority Police Department of New York and New Jersey, under the direction of Superintendent Michael A. Fedorko, with the investigation leading to today’s sentence.
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