Dumb Career Move of the Week: TSA Workers Steal Cash From Passengers

TSA Workers You'd think your personal possessions and money would be safe around security workers, but apparently they're not. A TSA employee at Newark Liberty International Airport confessed on Monday that he actually stole money from passengers who went through his security checkpoint, and he accepted bribes and kickbacks for looking the other way while a co-worker did the same thing.

Foreigners targeted

Michael Arato, a 41-year-old who supervised a security checkpoint in the airport's Terminal B, admitted that he and his colleague deliberately targeted foreigners who could not speak much English -- in particular, Indian women on their way home after visiting relatives in the United States.

"Arato literally made a game of stealing hundreds of dollars a day from individuals standing in the security lane. That he targeted them based on their inability to speak English is especially offensive," said U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman in a statement.

It wasn't uncommon for Arato to lift $400 to $700 per shift from the wallets, purses and carry-ons he inspected. He would then hide the cash in X-ray machine drawers, explosive detection machines, and the lost and found container until the coast was clear to take it away.

A conspiracy

When passengers began to complain, videotape surveillance of the station was set up, and the TSA employees were documented committing the offenses, as well as staging a theft competition and talking about how they didn't feel bad about ripping off foreign passengers because they were leaving the United States with "our money."

Arato was in cahoots with one other worker, and would pretend he didn't notice when that worker also lifted cash from passengers. In return for his inattention, the colleague would give Arato a cut. He admitted to receiving as much as $3,100 in one week this way.

Interestingly enough, it was that unnamed co-worker who arranged a deal with authorities and blew the whistle on Arato.

Arato's sentencing date is May 24. He could receive a maximum of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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It has been pretty well proven that the TSA approach is not one that really improves security for any of us. I hope the scumbags that steal people's money and belongings all get caught - and get the book thrown at them! This is a slap in the face to every honest worker, who doesn't steal money!

February 17 2011 at 2:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In defense of the TSA, and they need some, one of their agents suggested that i send my money clip thru xray and keep the currency in my pocket. Obviously a very beneficial idea.

February 17 2011 at 12:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've had no problems with TSA and I fly @4-8 times a month. Yes, sometimes they're a bit over cautious but It's for my protection so I welcome it. Every once in a while I'll get a PAIN IN THE ASS OFFICER who wants to show authority but everyone can't be perfect! Just keep watching for those bombs please!

February 17 2011 at 12:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Rick's comment

Oh, I want them to look for bombs. I don't even object to being inspected. But they should either inspect everybody, or inspect obviously Arab looking types first. But to feel me up three times just to go on the same flight was rediculous. I was starting to feel offended. Then, they stole my Monster that I was about to drink to get me through the night aware. I turned around for the wanding, and it was just taken away without so much as a by your leave! They figured I had a bomb in it!! S U R E !

February 17 2011 at 2:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

And the TSA people always wonder why I stand and watch them go through my bags!! They act like I'm the criminal. I have been physically inspected as much as three times to board a plane. I'm a 6'2" WASP. When it is legislated that we must have asshole thieves in charge of us as we just want to take a trip..... What are we gonna do?

February 16 2011 at 11:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Woodclaver's comment

People need to start boycotting flights. The airlines are in such dire straights that it wouldn't take long for them to feel the pain.

February 17 2011 at 2:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Is english your first language? You sound like an illiterate fool!

February 16 2011 at 10:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What a piece of sh*t....It's tools like these people who give those of us who work hard at TSA a bad name. That little bit of cash ain't worth my job or my self respect. Enjoy your time in the pen aszh*le.

February 16 2011 at 9:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Defaultgirl's comment

Uh.....Nobody works hard at the TSA!

February 16 2011 at 10:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Stan Bennett

Hey lets unionize them then they can't be fired without a long drawn out process while they are on leave with pay!

February 16 2011 at 9:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Doc Lagos

Surprise, surprise, surprise!! This is the American way, target the weak (or percieved weak, ie. Iraq's, Afghanistans, Viet Nams, Koreas, Grenadas, Panama's, et al.) and leave those percieved or known to be able to defend themselves alone (ie: Russia, China, north Korea). These guys will get promotions for be innovative and EVIL!!

February 16 2011 at 8:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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