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Another DMV Employee Helped Disgraced Cop Cheat the System

For the second time in as many months, the NYPD has disciplined a police officer who claimed a DMV employee told him how to scam the agency's own system to get his car re-registered after allowing his insurance to lapse.

12:00 AM EDT on October 16, 2023

MTA/Mark A. Hermann|

Another cop has been fired for scamming the system — thanks to advice from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Once again, the Department of Motor Vehicles has been implicated in a plot to help a rogue cop stay on the roads.

For the second time in as many months, the NYPD has disciplined a police officer who claimed a DMV employee told him how to scam the agency's own system to get his car re-registered after allowing his insurance to lapse.

Police Commissioner Edward Caban ended up firing the veteran officer, Robert Lynch, for his role in the plot, the NYPD quietly posted to the web this week. It is unclear what, if anything, happened to the unidentified DMV worker, as the agency declined to comment.

Here's how we covered the prior DMV-linked ghost car scam.Streetsblog

The story began in early 2019 when Lynch failed to pay his insurance premium and his driver's license was suspended. He then went to the Department of Motor Vehicles, where an employee “suggested that if he were to report his license plate missing, it would enable him to re-register his vehicle and help get his insurance back.”

Lynch testified in his July disciplinary hearing that he took the advice; he headed to a precinct station house in Staten Island and, "even though the plate wasn't really lost," filed a report claiming that it was. As a result, “his driver’s license and insurance were, indeed, restored,” according to the NYPD's report.

Lynch then removed the front plate from his Subaru Legacy and continued driving. As a result of his scam, he racked up $59,000 in unpaid tolls and penalties over the next three-and-a-half years, never paying as he used MTA bridges and tunnels 755 times and Port Authority bridges and tunnels 723 times during that period.

An MTA cop finally pulled over Lynch for not paying a toll in September, 2022, and the scam unraveled from there, earning Lynch a top charge of grand larceny. He was also charged with falsifying records, a lower-level felony, stemming from his erroneous report to his local precinct.

Lynch was suspended without pay in January of this year. Caban finally fired him on Aug. 23.

The case is strikingly similar to that of Sgt. Adrian DeJesus, who was also fired by the NYPD this year for perpetrating a ghost-car scam allegedly on the advice of an unidentified DMV supervisor who told him to keep driving despite having invalid license plates. DeJesus claimed the DMV supervisor said he could get away with it "since he was a police officer no one would question him," then-NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said in her dismissal ruling.

Like DeJesus, Lynch laid out a sob story about suffering a divorce that left him unable to attend to basic needs such as paying for his insurance. In Lynch's case, his wife had fled to another state during and after the divorce, prompting him to drive long distances to see his daughter. Lynch has pleaded guilty to both criminal charges against him and has entered into a payment plan to refund the tolling agencies, according to Caban's ruling.

Lynch earned $101,000 thanks to overtime in 2022, according to the city payroll.

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