Brown said that, according to the criminal charges, the
defendants are alleged to have stolen more than 57,000
mini bottles of various brands of liquor including
Dewars scotch, Absolut vodka, Courvoisier cognac and
Baileys liqueur worth approximately $400,000 between
April 2012 and August 2012. The defendants are also
alleged to have stolen a quantity of duty-free
merchandise – such as perfume, quart bottles of liquor
and cigarettes with an estimate worth of $40,000 during
the same period.
addition, a court authorized search warrant was executed
at the residence of one of the defendants a retired Sky
Chefs driver. Among the alleged items seized as a result
of that warrant were 500 to 600 garbage bags filled with
mini liquor bottles (each bag containing approximately
100 bottles) worth between $385,000 and $420,000, as
well as $34,000 in cash.
Brown explained that LSG Sky Chefs., a subcontractor for
American Airlines at JFK Airport, assembles the liquor
mini bottles that are loaded onto commercial aircraft to
be served to passengers in-flight. Following a flight,
Sky Chefs employees are responsible for transporting any
unsold merchandise from the aircraft back to a storage
facility on the airport grounds.
The Sky Chefs drivers remove the bottles from the
food/beverage storage carts onboard the aircraft and
place them in thick medium-sized grey plastic bags which
are used on American Airlines aircrafts.
carrying out the thefts, according to the charges, Sky
Chefs drivers would remove the unsold mini liquor
bottles from the plane and either transport them to
their personal vehicles in the employee parking lot or
sell the stolen liquor to co-workers on the loading
docks. Depending on the type and brand of liquor, black
market prices allegedly ran from fifty-five cents for a
bottle of Baileys to a dollar twenty-five for a bottle
In-flight a mini bottle of Dewars, Courvoisier or
Baileys is sold for seven dollars. It is further alleged
that security guards were given quantities of the mini
liquor bottles in return for not carefully inspecting
the Sky Chef vehicles passing through the checkpoint
areas with the grey bags.
The alleged scheme
was uncovered earlier this year when the Port Authority
Inspector General’s office developed information that
Sky Chefs employees were stealing liquor at Kennedy
Airport. Based on that information, the Offices of the
Port Authority Inspector General and the District
Attorney’s Airport Investigations Unit commenced a joint
investigation. In the ensuing weeks and months,
investigators conducted extensive surveillance of the
defendants and made 57 undercover buys of over 57,000
min-bottles of liquor.
The evidence allegedly obtained from those observations
and buys formed the factual basis for the criminal
complaints that will be filed later today in Queens
Criminal Court. The defendants are variously charged
with third-degree bribe receiving, receiving a reward
for official misconduct, second-, third- and
fourth-degree grand larceny and second-, third- and
fourth degree criminal possession of stolen property.
Brown said that most of the defendants were
arrested after they were summoned to attend an important
security meeting at the airport.
SKY CHEFS TRUCK DRIVERS (15)
Edgar Aquino-Acosta, 24, Domingo A. Duran, 62, Frankliyn
Gill, 64, Kelvin Gomez-Nunez, 32, Isaacs Hernandez, 24,
Elvin Imbert, 37, Ablam Kloutse, 44, William Leyva, 48,
Freddie Lucas, 36, Richard Luna, 50, Maxime Mathe, 39,
Raymond Prenza, 36, Isaac Romoleon, 51, Arkadiusz
Szmitko, 32, and George Torez, 30.
SECURITY GUARDS (3)
Jose Baez, 50, Martin Molina, 50, and Stalin