Skip to comments.Steal $40K, Get 6 Months in Jail — If You’re a TSA Worker
Posted on 01/22/2012 7:22:39 AM PST by IbJensen
Steal $40,000 from a bank, and youll spend a decade or two in prison. Steal $40,000 from an airplane passengers luggage and youll get six months if youre a Transportation Security Administration employee, that is.
On January 10, 44-year-old Coumar Persad and 31-year-old Davon Webb, eight-year veterans of the TSA force at New Yorks John F. Kennedy International Airport, were sentenced to six months in jail and five years probation after pleading guilty to having stolen $40,000 from a passengers suitcase in January 2011. At the time of the mens arrest, authorities told CBS New York that the suspects had apparently helped themselves to passengers possessions before, Persad having allegedly admitted to prior instances.
Indeed, it does appear that they had a system worked out in advance of the 2011 incident. Persad spotted the cash while X-raying the bag, which was destined for Buenos Aires. He told Webb to mark the bag with tape so they could easily find it later which they did, removing as much cash as they could fit into their pockets. (There was $170,000 in all, belonging to a woman authorities have been unable to contact in Argentina; they believe she may have been a drug courier who was killed because of the missing money.) Investigators said they were able to recover all but $20 of the stolen money from the two mens homes.
The extremely light sentence meted out to Persad and Webb has raised some eyebrows. A $40,000 theft, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley points out, would constitute grand larceny, but they were given a sentence that falls on the border with a misdemeanor.
In New York, Turley explains, grand larceny applies for crimes with any theft over $1,000. This would be 40 times that amount. He goes on to list the Empire States maximum sentences for such a crime, ranging from four years for grand larceny in the fourth degree to 25 years for grand larceny in the first degree. Yet Persad and Webb got a mere six months behind bars.
Meanwhile, just last August three men were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 15 to 19 years for robbing a First National Bank in Houston, Texas, and making off with over $40,000 about the same amount Persad and Webb purloined. Even the unarmed getaway car driver, who did not enter the bank, got over 11 years. True, these sentences were harsher than they might otherwise have been because the three robbers were particularly cruel and abusive, and two later took hostages in a nearby apartment building; but still, the difference between their sentences and those given to Persad and Webb is enormous.
Turley recounts other cases where similar crimes by persons not employed by the government have resulted in much harsher sentences: For example, a rapper who stole a purse with $6000 was given a seven year sentence. I would put two TSA officers stealing $40,000 as a bit more serious than a ramped up purse snatching. Even [a] singing rabbi got one to three years for stealing $36,000 from a woman.
I fail to understand why, even with a plea, these men were given such a light sentence, Turley writes. But really, its no mystery. The simple fact of the matter is that being employed by the government tends to insulate one from the legal consequences of his behavior. Police officers who mistreat the people they are supposed to be protecting and serving often end up merely being put on administrative leave while their departments conduct investigations that more often than not find that the officers did nothing wrong. Military employees and contractors who brutalize detainees are given cover by Presidents, who, in turn, are not prosecuted by their successors. Even just being well connected in Washington is enough to escape prosecution, as witness Congress retroactive grant of immunity to telecommunications companies who cooperated with the Bush administrations warrantless wiretapping of Americans phone calls. In fact, about the only surefire way for a government employee to be hounded by the law as a civilian would is to rat on the government. Uncle Sam doesnt like stool pigeons any better than the Mob does; just ask Pfc. Bradley Manning.
One more lesson to be drawn from this incident: If you must fly, dont put anything valuable in your checked luggage. You may never see it again.
It really sounds like they should study law while they are in jail so they can fully exploit their personal moral codes, but maybe they just like groping people and going through luggage.
there used to be a time when stealing under the color of law by way of actual theft or bribery would garner one a long prison sentense. No, as the morals of our society spin farther down the abyss, not now. Probably in the future someone in similar circumstances will be given the Presidential Medal of Freedom for keeping money out of the hands of drug dealers.
Just ask yourself, who sits at the top of TSA.
Yet one more example of the government looking out for itself. Laws are mainly for the minor subjects.
Recall that it was Senator Charles Schumer (D, NY) who assured us that if we approve of federalizing airport security personnel that they would be more professional.
Thank you Senator Schumer!
Suspended with pay.
Covered by the union agreement.
Or my personal favorite: be Jon Corzine, steal 1.9 billion dollars and the worst that happens is some of the press makes fun of your mullett.
Their names have now been turned over to the Drug Cartels they stole the money from and it’s a death sentence.
The sooner they get out, the sooner their execution.
What happened to the rest of the 170K?
Your stuff is just part of their benefit package. That’s the Democrat way.
“One thing the story does not mention; were these 2 TSA agents fired from the agency, or just suspended? And after their prison sentence is over, are they eligible to be re-hired into the TSA?”
I’m thinking future Bloomberg staffers.
So the TSA agents had a scheme worked out to mark "interesting" bags for latter theft of contents. There are several interesting angles in this story beyond the theft of $40K. One is apparently the TSA does not bother with security cameras in its baggage handling area as these "professional agents" felt very comfortable in stuffing themselves with as much cash as they could fit.
The other disturbing aspect is they spotted a piece of luggage full of cash, $170K full of cash, and they let it go. Now did they let it go solely for the purpose of stealing the money or is the TSA in the habit of letting bags of cash thru security? I mean they'll nail you for 5 oz of shampoo, but $170K in cash is ok?
Who is watching the watchers?
I'm guessing he's a union scumbag, and when he gets out of jail, he'll demand, AND GET, backpay and his job back!
I would not say it's the morals of society as a whole, but the "morals" of a government that is increasingly hesitant to prosecute those citizens in the protected classes.
I also wonder who is dumb enough to send that amount of cash through a commercial airline. They could have easily chartered a flight.
Not to defend TSA (which doesn’t go over very well on this site), but there is a difference with stealing $40k, out of sight, from a suitcase, and bursting into a bank with guns pointed in the faces of employees and customers.
In the first case, it’s basically embezzlement and the laws against that should apply (and they are harsh laws), in the second case it’s Assault with a Deadly Weapon (whether fired or not), and those laws should apply.
This guy is about 30 years late to the party.
These employees will definitely be punished. They will be transferred. However, their promotion paperwork is being processed early so that when they get out they will not be inconvenienced.
They should get larger sentences, for criminal acts done in performance of duties of trust. A random purse snatcher is a random purse snatcher; you may not be able to avoid it, but you don’t get purposely subjected to it, and you can try to avoid places where it might happen.
In this case, the woman had no choice but to give these people access to her property, and in that official capacity, they stole her stuff. It’s like a police officer committing crimes — they should be punished separately for abusing their authority.
Yes - there is a difference
TSA guys used their Federal assigned responsibilities to do the crime.
This should carry a multiplier effect - not a divider effect.
They were acting as agents of the government.
“Or my personal favorite: be Jon Corzine, steal 1.9 billion dollars and the worst that happens is some of the press makes fun of your mullett.”
My mom did say, “If you are going to be a criminal, think “BIG”. This was in the Boesky/Milliken era. I should have taken her advice.