Dozens of Cabbies Charged in Corruption Case

By Matthew Stabley
|  Friday, Oct 2, 2009  |  Updated 8:03 PM EDT
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
39 Charged in Taxi Bribery Investigation

The Washington Post

Yitbarek Syume

advertisement
Photos and Videos

39 Charged in Taxi Bribery Investigation

Dozens of people -- mostly cab drivers -- were indicted on federal bribery charges Thursday.
More Photos and Videos

WASHINGTON -- With the cooperation of the chairman of the D.C. Taxicab Commission, the FBI has charged dozens of people -- mostly taxi drivers -- with conspiring to commit bribery.

Indictments unsealed Friday allege Yitbarek Syume, 51, of Silver Spring, Md.; Berhane Leghese, 47, of Arlington, Va.; and Amanuel Ghirmazion, 53, of Hyattsville, Md., made a series of payments totaling about $220,000 to Taxicab Commission Chairman Leon Swain Jr. to secure multi-vehicle taxi company licenses, which became more valuable when the D.C. Council passed a moratorium on them a year ago.

The suspects agreed to give Swain $10,000 per license, according to court documents, but Swain blew the whistle and worked with investigators.

In addition, Syume and another 36 cab drivers also were indicted on bribery charges Thursday, acting U.S. Attorney Channing Phillips and FBI Assistant Director in Charge Joseph Persichini Jr. announced. The drivers are accused of paying bribes totaling $110,000 to get individual taxi operator licenses.

The indictments came after a two-year investigation, federal authorities said.

Last week, Ted G. Loza, the chief of staff for D.C. Councilman Jim Graham, was arrested on charges that he promoted taxicab legislation in exchange for cash. Graham is not being investigated by authorities, but the scandal has sent the media digging for dirt.
 

Get the latest headlines sent to your inbox!
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Leave Comments
Join the Ride to Conquer Cancer
Join the Ride To Conquer Cancer, Sept. 13... Read more
Follow Us
Sign up to receive news and updates that matter to you.
Send Us Your Story Tips
Check Out