FBI Shuts Down Counterfeit Auto Parts Ring Reports In-Town Automotive
Says taxi services unknowingly bought misrepresented materials
Three individuals were arrested by agents, and a search of warehouses was immediately underway to confiscate any and all material from the facilities.
The FBI noted that the cab companies were unknowingly installing lower-quality parts to their cars, including brakes and water pumps.
"There are brake pads that are generic, that you can buy at an auto parts store under a generic name, but they are being sold as Ford, or [General Motors] or Chrysler parts when they really aren't. So they are being sold at an unfairly high price," said Martin Feely, an FBI supervisory special agent. "Ford, Chrysler, GM, whatever the company might be, their name is being used without their permission and they are not reaping any benefit from that."
The New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers stated that it was coordinating with the authorities to best determine which, and how many, vehicles has been compromised.
"Many of the livery cabs are not inspected as frequently as the yellow cabs are, therefore it concerns me even more, because if this counterfeiter has been supplying the auto parts stores where the livery cars shop at, they may have been contaminated even worse, and they won't know until they have an accident," said Fernando Mateo, the federation's president.
The Taxi and Limousine Commission praised the FBI in a released statement, noting that the investigation expressed confidence in the safety of its fleet. The statement noted that city taxis and livery cabs are inspected a minimum of three times per year, and that passengers should not assume that the counterfeit parts are de facto faulty or flawed.
In the statement, the TLC adds, "The public may remain confident in the safety of New York City taxicabs by virtue of the frequent and exhaustive inspections they each undergo at the TLC’s own state-of-the-art facility, but successfully keeping counterfeiters like these at bay is crucial."
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