NEW YORK — Dozens of ice cream truck drivers are dealing with some not-so-sweet consequences after officials say they scammed the city government out of millions of dollars.
Mayor de Blazio’s office said Wednesday they’ll seize 46 ice cream trucks from operators that evaded nearly $4.5 million in traffic fines and created shell companies to avoid enforcement efforts.
“No New Yorker is above the law – especially those who try to ignore public safety laws and create dangerous situations for pedestrians, bikers and drivers,” Mayor de Blasio said. “For years, these owners have ignored public safety laws and have driven dangerously in one of the busiest areas of the City. This seizure marks the end of the road for these scofflaw ice cream vendors.”
Officials say the operators consistently broke traffic and safety laws, including running red lights, parking near fire hydrants, and blocking crosswalks.
They then repeatedly re-registered the trucks with the State of New York’s Department of Motor Vehicles under the names of various shell companies. By the time the state’s Department of Finance attempted to collect the debt, information to trace the defendants no longer existed.
The lawsuit filed by the city targets those with more than $10,000 in judgements or unpaid fines. They’ll also have to pay the city damages, and can’t transfer ownership of the vehicles that have outstanding parking summonses.