The Metro transportation system has suspended two employees who are facing federal charges in connection with the alleged theft of coins from transit stations in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.
The two men were charged with conspiring to commit a theft. The charges are federal because Metro receives money from the federal government. Court proceedings will take place in the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia.
The exact amount of the loss is unknown, but it could be thousands of dollars, prosecutors claim.
One of the defendants is 58 and has worked as a revenue technician for Metro since 1979. He services broken fare machines at the rail stations. The other, 54, has served as a Metro police officer since 1997, protecting revenue technicians as they collect coins from machines and take them to a central facility.
The charges could bring a prison term of up to five years for each of the men if they are convicted.
It was while working together, prosecutors said, that the two men hatched and carried out the scheme to steal the coins. They allegedly would collect coins and hide the money in a specific location. Later, they would return in other cars to pick up the money.
In court filings, prosecutors contend the pair followed this plan often and that they made sure to be scheduled on the same shift.
One of the men allegedly used his share to buy lottery tickets, including $28,000 just during a three-month span in late 2011. Court documents also show that his bank statements reflect more than $150,000 in deposits since 2008 that can't be tied to any earnings.
The general manager of Metro said termination action had commenced against at least one employee. Additionally, the Metro will review its revenue-collection process and police officers who assist in the transport of money.
It is not known what evidence police have that could prove the men's guilt. It's also important to remember that the men are afforded the presumption of innocence.
Source: WUSA9, "Metro Workers Horace Dexter McDade And John Vincent Haile Accused Of Stealing Thousands Of Dollars In Coins From Fare Machines; Haile Accused Of Purchasing More Than $28K Worth Of Lottery Tickets," Jan. 19, 2012