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Kennedy Airport Cargo Handlers Charged in Foreign Money Heist Scheme

In what seems to be a poor man's "Ocean's Eleven" scenario, five former JFK Airport cargo handlers are charged with running a four-year long scheme to steal foreign currency from mail at the New York City airport.

As detailed in a federal criminal complaint released Wednesday, former Aircraft Service International Group (ASIG) cargo handlers Rickash Gobin, 41, Fitzroy Ragbeer, 58, Franklin Beresford, 26, Pedro Lopez, Jr., 34, and Nick Sadler, 35, are alleged to have agreed to steal mail with foreign money from international flights operating out of Terminal One of JFK Airport in the borough of Queens.

Gobin, the manager of the cargo handlers, allegedly not only failed to stop the theft of mail, but actively promoted it by assigning cargo handlers to flights where they could steal mail and then demanding kickbacks, according to the complaint.

The former manager admitted in the complaint that "he has received approximately $2,000 from the cargo handlers who stole mail."

The cargo handlers targeted mail they believed to contain foreign currency, including Japanese Yen and Euros, and then exchanged the foreign currency at currency exchange businesses at JFK Airport, and at other financial institutions, according to Nellin McIntosh, a spokesperson for the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs JFK Airport, did not have any immediate comment. ASIG did not return calls for comment.

Image:
FILE - In this April 20, 2010 file aerial photo, the air traffic control tower and terminals at John F. Kennedy International Airport are shown in New York. Mark Lennihan / ASSOCIATED PRESS