Ten current and former toll collectors at the Ted Williams and Callahan tunnels were charged today with stealing toll money from the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, which owns the tunnels.
Suffolk County DA Dan Conley says the most common scheme involved taking advantage of the different tolls charged to commercial vehicles and ordinary passenger cars:
As vehicles pass through the tolls, the collector is supposed to hit a switch indicating the type of vehicle passing through and collect the appropriate fare. In most of these instances we've charged, toll collectors would classify some of the taxi cabs or other commercial vehicles as ordinary vehicles, but charge the drivers the higher toll rate and pocket the difference.
Another scheme involved toll collectors manipulating the timing switch used to count cars so that two vehicles would be counted as one. Again, the toll was collected from the uncounted vehicle but pocketed by the toll collector. The dollars stolen from the Turnpike by misclassifying or miscounting vehicles could range anywhere from $20 to $150 per toll collector, per shift, and amount to thousands of dollars.
State Police began their investigation last October. The ten were issued summons to appear in Boston Municipal Court to answer the charges.