ATF Fraud Leads to Jail, Fine


The owner of a New York automotive lubricants distributorship pled guilty to grand larceny charges, admitting substitution of cheaper transmission fluid in place of the contracted Castrol product for New York City buses.

Joseph Ioia, owner and CEO of New York Commercial Lubricants Inc. in Staten Island, pled guilty to grand larceny in the third degree, following an investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney conducted with the Metropolitan Transportation Authoritys office of the Inspector General. Ioia is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 17 to three months of intermittent jail and five years of probation, and will forfeit approximately $863,000, the attorney general office announced Aug. 28.

Ioia admitted in his defendants plea that he was under contractual obligation to supply the New York City Transit Authority with BPs Castrol Transynd heavy duty transmission fluid for use in New York City buses. According to BPs Castrol website, Transynd is a premium synthetic powershift and automatic transmission fluid designed for extended oil change intervals.

However, the defendant was not an authorized distributor of BP products, the district attorneys office stated in an Aug. 28 news release. Between May 2010 and March 2011, Ioia admitted to supplying NYCTA with a cheaper substitution fluid, which he falsely claimed to be the agreed-upon BP product. During this period, NYCTA paid the defendant more than $800,000 for the substitution fluid, which the defendant had falsely billed as Castrol Transynd. Ioia also admitted to providing falsified product batch numbers, requests for inspection forms, certificates of analysis, and a letter purporting to be from BP personnel to NYCTA.

BP America had no comment on the case, a spokesman told Lube Report.

Defrauding the Transit Authority is akin to defrauding all New York residents, said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. in the news release. In this case, the defendant stole hundreds of thousands of dollars and corrupted the bidding process for eligible, honest contractors and vendors seeking to do business with a public agency.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority Inspector General Barry Kluger thanked New York City Transit staff for bringing their suspicions regarding the contract to his attention. I also wish to thank the Office of the New York County District Attorney for working with us on this investigation, obtaining full restitution for the MTA, and successfully prosecuting a dishonest contractor, Kluger said. These joint efforts reinforce a powerful message: we hold contractors working on MTA and other governmental projects to a higher standard, and will exact a very heavy price from those who cheat the public.

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