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Transit workers sentenced in theft

We previously wrote about the case of two men, including one from Northern Virginia, who pleaded guilty to theft charges in the disappearance of nearly $500,000 from fare machines servicing the Washington-area Metro system.

The 52-year-old man from Woodbridge, Virginia, and the 58-year-old man have been ordered to repay nearly $475,000. The younger man received 37 months in prison, and the older man a 30-month prison sentence on charges of theft from programs that receive federal funding and conspiracy to launder money.

They each also must serve three years of supervised release.

The younger man had worked for the transit system's police department since 1997. His job was to protect revenue collectors as they moved funds to and from the system's revenue-collection location in Alexandria, Virginia. The other man had worked for the agency for more than 30 years.

Federal prosecutors said the men collected money from transit terminals and took it to the collection facility. En route, they would stop and hide bags of cash at an underpass in the parking lot of an Alexandria hotel. After their work days ended, they drove in their own cars to pick up their hidden stash.

Both men said they used the coins they walked away with to buy state lottery tickets. The older man said he also made many purchases in cash at area home improvement stores and also paid off accounts with a jewelry store and his cellphone provider.

The U.S. attorney did not disclose how long prosecutors believed the men had been stealing from the transit agency. He said only that the scheme had been going on for years. In this case, pleading guilty likely reduced the men's sentences. With the amount of money involved, a federal conviction could have meant a much longer sentence.

Source: LakeRidge-Occoquan Patch, "Former Metro Employees Sentenced for Stealing Thousands in Fares," Lauren Jost, June 18, 2012

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