Former Port Authority Toll Collector Sentenced For Stealing From Her Booth

TRENTON – A former toll collector for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey who worked at the George Washington Bridge was sentenced today for stealing toll funds, Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor announced.

Debbie E. Rembert, 41, of Rosedale, N.Y., was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Eugene H. Austin in Bergen County to four years of probation. She pleaded guilty on Oct. 19 to an accusation charging her with third-degree theft by unlawful taking. The Division of Criminal Justice charged Rembert as a result of an audit and investigation by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. She was ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution to the Port Authority and is permanently barred from public employment.

Rembert admitted that she stole at least $500 in toll funds, partly concealing the thefts by falsely reporting numerous truck “turnarounds,” instances when truck drivers passed through her toll booth, but then turned around and did not cross the bridge or pay the toll. An audit of toll collectors by the Port Authority revealed that Rembert had the highest average cash “shortage” per shift and the highest number of reported turnarounds. The term “shortage” refers to the difference between the tolls anticipated based on the vehicles that pass through a toll booth and the actual tolls collected, minus losses accounted for by reported toll violators and turnarounds.

The Audit Department and Office of Investigations of the Port Authority Office of Inspector General uncovered the thefts and referred the case to the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau for prosecution. Deputy Attorney General Vincent J. Militello prosecuted the case and represented the state at the sentencing. Detectives Danny DiPrimo and John Fitzgerald conducted the investigation for the Office of Investigations of the Port Authority Office of Inspector General.

Rembert was arrested by the Port Authority detectives on June 17. She immediately resigned her position with the Port Authority. She admitted to the detectives that she stole toll funds to support her abuse of prescription narcotics, including Percocet and Hydrocodone.

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