LOWER MANHATTAN, New York (WABC) -- More than two dozen people were arrested Tuesday morning as part of an investigation into fake parking placards that have allowed drivers to park illegally throughout the city.
The arrests were made as part of a joint investigation with the city's Department of Investigation and Manhattan District Attorney's Office. (Watch raw video of their arrests in the player above)
Investigators said the defendants forged parking placards to park illegally or dispute previously-issued parking tickets, predominantly in Lower Manhattan, between March and September.
"Using a fraudulent placard to get around City parking regulations is no different than stealing any other City benefit or service," DOI Commissioner Mark Peters said in a news release. "As our investigation shows, luxury vehicles with fake placards were restricting access to parking for the disabled, creating potentially dangerous situations and breaking the law. In fact, some of this abuse was observed right outside of DOI's headquarters in Lower Manhattan
Here are more details from investigators:
"Sixteen of the forged placards uncovered during this investigation were purportedly from the following New York City governmental agencies: the Administration for Child Services, the New York City Law Department, the New York City Department of Health, and the Fire Department of the City of New York. Fourteen placards were purportedly issued by non-municipal agencies: the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the American Red Cross, and the New York Blood Center."
The 30 suspects were indicted by a grand jury on charges including impersonation and forgery. They were either arrested or surrendered, and were arraigned Tuesday.
Here's a list of names of those charged:
1. Richard Abrazi, 35, of New York, New York
2. Bibi Alladin, 36, of Queens, New York
3. Robert Blessington, 47, of Wayne, New York
4. Andrej Bogdanovs, 38, of Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania
5. Robert Bojaj, 24, of New York, New York
6. Jon Camilleri, 37, of Monroe, New York
7. Richie Canizares, 44, of Queens, New York
8. Vincent Cassino, 68, of Staten Island, New York
9. Amarildo Cizmja, 34, of Queens, New York
10. Janku Ergys, 36, of Queens, New York
11. Ralph Faccilongo, 50, of Bronx, New York
12. Edward Fasano, 56, of Syosset, New York
13. Albert Feliz, 38, of Mamaroneck, New York
14. Yuliya Firaydonova, 28, of New York, New York
15. Michael Giaccone, 64, of Queens, New York
16. Giusseppe Giannattasio, 50, of East Meadow, New York
17. Mohamed Hassan, 36, of Brentwood, New York
18. Stanley Jacques, 46, of Uniondale, New York
19. Kieran Keaveney, 46, of Yonkers, New York
20. Rami Misbah, 40, of Bronx, New York
21. John O'Connell, 52, of Brooklyn, New York
22. Constantine Pardalis, 65, of Queens, New York
23. Nayeem Siddique, 39, of Brooklyn, New York
24. Richard Taylor, 32, of Brooklyn, New York
25. Antonio Vendome, 65, of New York, New York
26. Raquel Vendome, 28, of Oyster Bay, New York
27. Michael Wilson, 30, of Bronx, New York
28. Boris Zagrinichny, 35, of Brooklyn, New York
29. Lyudmila Zavlyanova, 46, of Queens, New York
30. Marek Zieba, 45, of Mount Bethel, Pennsylvania
The arrests came months after Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city would crack down on the illegal use of the parking placards. There are more than 160,000 legitimate placards on the city streets.
Video: 30 arrests made in fake parking placard investigation in NYC
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