Pedicab Driver Shokhru Alimov Allegedly Proactively Offered $60,000 in Exchange for Authentic Pedicab Registration Plates
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr., New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Jocelyn E. Strauber, and New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga, today announced the indictment of SHOKHRU ALIMOV, 41, for offering money to an employee of the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (“DCWP”) in order to obtain authentic pedicab registration plates outside of the registration plate lottery.
As alleged, ALIMOV, a licensed pedicab driver, offered to pay a DCWP inspector a total of $60,000 for 34 pedicab registration plates. After making that offer, in separate conversations, ALIMOV offered to give $7,500 to the DCWP inspector for 15 DCWP pedicab registration plates immediately, an additional $7,500 to renew the plates in November 2023, along with more money for more pedicab registration plates in the future. ALIMOV is charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment with Bribery in the Second Degree.
“Our Rackets Bureau roots out fraud in all its forms and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure government programs are not affected by corruption and bribery,” said District Attorney Bragg. “Pedicab licensing restrictions exist for the safety of New Yorkers and all those who visit the city. This alleged bribery harms honest, law-abiding operators who are pushed out by those trying to game the system.”
DOI Commissioner Strauber said, “This defendant, as charged, tried to end-run the City’s permitting process, offering a bribe to a City employee in exchange for 15 official pedicab registration stickers. The City employee, who had received DOI’s anti-corruption training, promptly and properly reported the alleged offer to DOI, leading to further investigation and this bribery charge. I thank this employee for stepping forward and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for its long-standing partnership in the fight against bribery and corruption.”
“Department of Consumer and Worker Protection inspectors go above and beyond to foster trust with our more than 45,000 licensed businesses,” said DCWP Commissioner Mayuga. “Thank you to the District Attorney’s office and the Department of Investigation for working with us, and thank you to our inspector, who acted quickly to maintain the integrity of our inspections.”
According to the indictment and documents filed in court, on May 10, 2023, at the Central Park North Meadow Recreation Center, ALIMOV approached a senior inspector of DCWP conducting pedicab inspections and offered to pay $60,000 in exchange for his assistance in obtaining 34 pedicab registration plates. The DCWP inspector then immediately reported the offer to DOI.
The registration plate sticker is required to operate a pedicab-for-hire and DCWP issues 840 pedicab registration plates a year to enforce the New York City limit of 850 pedicabs. DCWP also limits each individual or company to 30 registered pedicabs.
Registration plates can either be obtained through DCWP’s annual pedicab registration plate lottery or by purchasing a plate from another pedicab licensee with the approval of DCWP. ALIMOV won one pedicab registration plate in the 2023 lottery.
From May 17, 2023, to May 31, 2023, under the supervision of DOI, the DCWP inspector recorded two in-person meetings and five phone calls with ALIMOV, where he offered the DCWP inspector money for DCWP pedicab registration plates. ALIMOV ultimately offered and agreed to give $7,500 to the DCWP inspector for 15 pedicab registration plates immediately and an additional $7,500 in November 2023 when the plates would be up for renewal.
ALIMOV had also ordered additional pedicabs from a manufacturer and agreed to give more money for additional pedicab registration plates when the vehicles arrived.
On June 6, 2023, ALIMOV met with the DCWP inspector and a DOI confidential investigator posing as a DCWP licensing official outside of DCWP headquarters in the Financial District. ALIMOV was arrested immediately after giving the DOI confidential investigator $7,500 in exchange for 15 pedicab registration plates.
Assistant D.A. Jaime Hickey-Mendoza is handling the prosecution of the case under the supervision of Assistant D.A. Michael Ohm (Deputy Bureau Chief of the Rackets Bureau), Assistant D.A. Judy Salwen (Principal Deputy Bureau Chief of the Rackets Bureau), and Assistant D.A. Jodie Kane (Chief of the Rackets Bureau, Acting Chief of the Investigation Division). Trial Preparation Assistant Robert Woolf is assisting with prosecution of the case. The Forensic Accounting and Financial Investigations Unit also provided valuable assistance Senior Financial Investigator Jody Hrazanek under the supervision of Irene Serrapica (Deputy Chief of FAFI) and Robert Demarest (Chief of FAFI).
D.A. Bragg thanked DCWP, particularly Michael Tiger, General Counsel; and DOI’s Office of the Inspector General for DCWP, which investigated the matter, specifically Senior Special Investigator Steven Montague under the supervision of Assistant Inspector General Anastasia Plakas, First Deputy Inspector General Mary Kozlow, Inspector General Clinton Daggan, Deputy Commissioner of Strategic Initiatives Christopher Ryan and Deputy Commissioner/Chief of Investigations Dominick Zarrella.
- Bribery in the Second Degree, a class C felony, one count
The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. All factual recitations are derived from documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court.