A Queens Village woman was arrested Friday on charges of going into the Parking Violations Operations computers to remove more than $2,000 of her own outstanding parking violations debt, the city Department of Investigation said.
Donna Shuman, 36, of 111-32 209th St. in Queens Village and a Department of Finance Parking Violations Operations employee since July 1995, was charged with moving $2,078 she owed on parking tickets into uncollectible status in February 1999. Willie Petteway, a Brooklyn resident with the PVO, also was charged with a similar crime.
Both of these defendants used their positions at PVO to illegally access the computer system for personal gain, said Rose Gill Hearn, commissioner of the DOI. These prosecutions are an example of interagency cooperation and underscore DOIs commitment to stop municipal corruption in its tracks.
The PVO has had a long history of corruption dating back to the 1980s when a Parking Violations bureau scandal rocked the city during the Koch administration.
Shuman, who was suspended without pay, has been with the PVO since July 1995 and assigned to the PVOs Rental Unit at an annual salary of $36,402. She is charged with computer tampering, obstructing governmental administration and official misconduct. If convicted, Shuman could face up to four years in jail.
At the PVO, Shuman worked as a collector in the Parking Summons Collection Unit. She was responsible for finding people who owed money on unpaid parking violations by searching through an array of resources, including credit check and telephone directories.
Shuman could not be reached for comment on the charges.
The DOI said Shumans alleged crime surfaced when the city comptrollers office began to examine records to see if she owed any money to the city because she was suing the city in an unrelated matter.
Martha Stark, commissioner of the Department of Finance, said the actions of the two employees would not be tolerated and that shifting around summons records for personal gain constituted stealing from the city.
To prevent future acts of theft, I have asked my staff to work with DOI to recommend ways to prevent Finance Department employees from manipulating their own parking summons information, she said. I also want them to recommend new measures to improve our ability to detect this kind of fraud.
Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.
©2002 Community News Group
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