Stories about people who defraud government agencies usually make us think only of taxpayer dollars wasted. But the story of Brooklyn's Joseph Ungar, who pleaded guilty yesterday to selling inferior knockoff parts to the MTA
, also makes us a little nervous about using the traims, though the Authority claims the parts, which have been traded out in normal maintenance, would have worn out faster but were unlikely to cause catastrophes. Ungar's Abec Industries
sold the MTA substandard Chinese transmission parts, such as gears and ball bearings, and charged for quality goods. He was awfully clever about it; after he was barred from doing business with the city in 2004, he used fake personal and business names, got notaries public to certify fake signatures on bids
, and even impersonated a dead guy in writing and on the phone. When investigators raided his plant, they found bogus goods and label-makers which Ungar used to disguise his fakes. He also maintained a bogus business address to avoid paying city business taxes. Guilty of grand larceny and fraud in State Supreme Court, Ungar will get probation and pay over $330,000 in restitution or go to prison. Image (cc) joelogon.