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‘Swipe Swindlers’ Continue to Plague Commuters at East Broadway Station

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The so-called swipe swindlers continue to plague the East Broadway subway station. It’s a racket that’s been ongoing for years, and probably isn’t exclusive to the Lower East Side.

It goes like this…

You walk downstairs to the Metrocard machine to purchase a fare, but are greeted with an “out of order” message. A group of men quickly comes to your “aid,” noting that the machines are broken and that they will sell you a Metrocard. Whether or not it works is another story. What’s really happening here, though, is that the dispensers are intentionally busted to force you to buy from them.

Technically this age-old scam is no longer considered a felony. About five years ago, the New York Court of Appeals upended the law, ruling that the MTA “does not have a valid property interest in the swipe-buyer’s fare.” However, such profiteers can still be prosecuted under “theft of services laws.”