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Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.

District Attorney, New York County

For Immediate Release
August 28, 2014


Defendant Agreed To Supply Specific Transmission Fluids and Provided Substitutions Instead, Falsifying Records and Inspection Forms

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the guilty plea of JOSEPH IOIA, 61, an automotive lubricants dealer, for defrauding and stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA). Following an investigation conducted with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Office of the Inspector General (MTA-OIG), IOIA pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Third Degree. He is expected to be sentenced on December 17, 2014, to three months of intermittent jail and five years of probation, and will forfeit approximately $863,000.

“Defrauding the Transit Authority is akin to defrauding all New York residents,” said District Attorney Vance. “In this case, the defendant stole hundreds of thousands of dollars and corrupted the bidding process for eligible, honest contractors and vendors seeking to do business with a public agency. I thank Inspector General Kluger and investigators in the MTA-OIG for uncovering this theft, and for helping to ensure that people responsible for defrauding New York taxpayers are held accountable.”

MTA Inspector General Barry L. Kluger said: “I wish to thank the staff of MTA New York City Transit for bringing their suspicions regarding this contract to our attention and for their continued assistance in this investigation. I also wish to thank the Office of the New York County District Attorney for working with us on this investigation, obtaining full restitution for the MTA, and successfully prosecuting a dishonest contractor. These joint efforts reinforce a powerful message: We hold contractors working on MTA and other governmental projects to a higher standard, and will exact a very heavy price from those who cheat the public.”

As admitted in the defendant’s plea and allocution, IOIA, the owner and CEO of a company called New York Commercial Lubricants, Inc., was under contractual obligation to supply NYCTA with a heavy duty transmission fluid manufactured by BP plc (BP) called Castrol Transynd for use in New York City buses. However, the defendant was not an authorized distributor of BP products. Between May 2010 and March 2011, IOIA admitted to supplying NYCTA with a cheaper substitution fluid, which he falsely claimed to be the agreed-upon BP product. During this period, NYCTA paid the defendant more than $800,000 for the substitution fluid, which the defendant had falsely billed as Castrol Transynd. IOIA also admitted to providing falsified product batch numbers, requests for inspection forms, certificates of analysis, and a letter purporting to be from BP personnel to NYCTA.

Assistant District Attorneys Chevon Walker and Rachel Hochhauser handled the prosecution of the case, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Judith Weinstock, Deputy Chief of the Major Economic Crimes Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Polly Greenberg, Chief of the Major Economic Crimes Bureau. Investigator Terrance Hayes, Investigative Analyst Bonita Robinson, and Paralegal Elizabeth Friedrich also provided assistance with the case.

District Attorney Vance thanked Inspector General Kluger, Investigator Richard Regan, and members of the MTA-OIG for their assistance with the investigation. 

Defendant Information:

JOSEPH IOIA, D.O.B. 5/1/1953
Monmouth County, NJ


  • Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count