New York Daily News
A former driving test examiner in Queens demanded cash from would-be motorists in exchange for giving them passing grades — and groped at least one woman during her road test, state officials alleged Tuesday.
Ian Cioffi, 35, who resigned at the state Department of Motor Vehicles in May, was hit with bribe-receiving, forcible touching and other charges after the state Inspector General’s office found several prospective drivers he shook down early last year, officials said.
During one test in Kissena Park Feb. 8, 2018, Cioffi allegedly asked a prospective driver for “coffee” — his code word for cash, authorities said. When the driver told him she had no money, he flunked her.
He made the same demand of the next driver he tested, even though she spoke little English, authorities allege. He then took her bag from the back seat, fished out $400, and drove her back to the test site while he put a finger over his lips, authorities said.
Cioffi put another prospective driver through a harrowing ordeal at an Astoria road test site last March 14, authorities alleged — asking her if she had any money, and when she told him no, he took control of the wheel, pulled over and demanded $100 for a passing grade.
Repeating that she had no money, the woman reached for her cell phone, which Cioffi snatched away. He then asked for $20, and when she refused him again, he allegedly put his hand on her leg and down her shirt, authorities said. He ultimately gave her a passing grade — but never tested her on a required three-point turn or parallel parking, authorities said.
On April 4, he grabbed a test-taker’s purse at a Whitestone road test, and took $40 before giving her passing marks, officials said.
“He violated the public trust, corrupted a basic test every driver must take and defiled the critical work of other honest DMV employees who work hard every day registering and licensing drivers across the state,” Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro said.
The state DMV, said it cooperated in the probe “and will continue to do so,” adding in a statement: “The Department has zero tolerance for sexual assault or other criminal conduct in our agency and anyone who betrays the public trust will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Cioffi was arraigned in Queens criminal court and released on his own recognizance. His next court date is April 2.
He didn’t return a message seeking comment Tuesday night.
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