TSA Agents Steal $40,000 From A Passenger . . . And Receive Just Six Months In Jail

Recently, two former TSA screeners, 44-year-old Coumar Persad and 31-year-old Davon Webb were convicted of stealing $40,000 from a passenger’s luggage at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. The amount of cash and the involvement of TSA officers obviously makes the story notable. However, what I found quite remarkable was the sentence that they received; six months in jail and five years probation. That is a remarkably light sentence for federal employees involved in a major theft while using public authority and resources.

The men worked together with Persad calling Webb to tell him that his x-ray screen spotted cash. Webb, who worked in another baggage area, then marked the bag with red tape. Persad later intercepted the bag in another baggage handling area and removed the cash. The men then divided the money in a bathroom.

That would constitute grand larceny, but they were given a sentence that falls on the border with a misdemeanor.

In New York, grand larceny applies for crimes with any theft over $1,000. This would be 40 times that amount. Under NY Penal Law § 155.42m grand larceny in the first degree is a Class B felony that receives up to 25 years in prison. NY Penal Law § 155.40 and grand larceny in the second degree weighs in at 15 years in prison. Even the lowest, grand larceny in the fourth degree under NY Penal Law § 155.30 brings up to 4 years in prison.

The disconnect in the case with other cases is quite remarkable, even discounting the different legal systems. For example, a rapper who stole a purse with $6000 was given a seven year sentence. I would put two TSA officers stealing $40,000 as a bit more serious than a ramped up purse snatching. Even singing rabbi got one to three years for stealing $36,000 from a woman.

I fail to understand why, even with a plea, these men were given such a light sentence. They did not come forward on their own and used public trust to commit this crime.

Source: WSJ

19 thoughts on “TSA Agents Steal $40,000 From A Passenger . . . And Receive Just Six Months In Jail

  1. This is possibly related to a facet of exceptionalism which sometimes operates under whiffs of the notion that “since the king can do no wrong, all the kings men can only do a little wrong.”

    Seen anyone from the kings court doing any war crime time lately?

    Downward spirals only go downward.

  2. Men Steal $40,000 From A Bank… And Receive 10 – 18 Years in Prison

    Three Houston men will be serving lengthy prison terms without parole for robbing a First National Bank last year, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced Monday.

    Article here.

    Misconduct by government agents is rarely pursued and lightly punished. In many cases misconduct and crime is rewarded, as we see with abusive officers who receive promotions and official recognition instead of scrutiny and discipline. If it’s good enough for our political elites, why not agents of the government as well?

  3. The first time I saw what I characterized as a two-tier justice system has been so long ago I don’t even recall the year or specifics of the incident. What is notable to me is that in the past decades nothing has changed on that front except that the gulf gets wider and more public. Any chance of a civil suit?

  4. Actually, this sentence may be far far to stiff.

    Remember Oscar Grant??? Shot in the back while handcuffed by
    cops…. As I recall the cop was given two years…

  5. There is only one area of law where I believe in mandatory minimum sentencing: when government employees commit a crime, they should get the maximum penalty. They have not only broken the law, they have violated their duty of trust as civil servants.

    This sentence is a joke and a gross miscarriage of justice.

  6. The TSA is a joke. They’ll hire just about anyone to do that job. It’s appalling that they are getting away with such behavior. What else are these folks stealing from passengers?

    The TSA has done nothing but cause problems for fliers. Occasionally, they do stop would be terrorists from bringing 3.5 oz bottles of shampoo on board, thankfully!

  7. Uh…no one has remarked on the responsibility of the passengers stupid enough to pack cash in their suitcases. Does the airport need to post a sign like they have at car washes “not responsible for valuables left in vehicle”. The TSA and airport websites tell you that your suitcase may be opened and searched. Why on earth would you put CASH or any truly valuable item (jewelry, credit cards etc) in your checked luggage?

    Yes these folks need the book thrown at them for breaking the law and the public trust but anyone waving raw meat in front of a hungry lion should expect to lose the meat and the hand holding it.

  8. This commenter has not been on a plane since the Korean War but I was in Berlin when the commies ran the place and they made Nazis look mild. These guys had a good lawyer here– he/she got the government to not charge a greater offense and then cut a good deal. I wonder if these were the schumucks who let the guys with box cutters onto the planes on 9/11. I know that TSA didnt exist then but they had guys who did the same job and then got hired by TSA. How much money did the get on that job? Hey they were just box cutters.

  9. “The TSA and airport websites tell you that your suitcase may be opened and searched.”

    It doesn’t say the government or its representatives have the right to take anything they want from your suitcase.

    At least not yet….

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