TSA Supervisor Allegedly Stole Cash from Passenger Bags

Supervisor is charged with stealing thousands at airport security checkpoint.

ByABC News
October 20, 2010, 11:55 AM

Oct. 20, 2010— -- A Transportation Security Administration supervisor has been arrested for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars in cash from passengers going through an airport checkpoint.

As passengers -- mostly foreigners heading home -- came through the checkpoint at New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport, the supervisor and another TSA agent would subject them to secondary searches and allegedly take cash from their carry-on bags.

The supervisor, Michael Arato, 41, of Ewing, N.J., was changed with one count of accepting bribes, one count of conspiring to commit theft and three counts of theft by a government employee. The other TSA worker is now cooperating with authorities and has not been named in court records.

The pair allegedly targeted predominately non-English speaking victims, including women of Indian descent and nationality who were returning home after visiting the United States.

On a given shift, Arato would pocket approximately $400 to $700 from passengers, according to U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman.

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

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The TSA said that anytime it becomes aware of an employee who might be engaged in illegal activity, it works closely with other agencies to investigate.

"TSA will continue to move swiftly and decisively to terminate any employee who engages in illegal activity on the job," a TSA statement said. "The unfortunate choices of a couple individuals should in no way serve as a reflection on the more than 1,050 security officers at Newark Liberty who conduct themselves with professionalism and integrity and do an outstanding job every day keeping the traveling public safe."