[This post has been updated]
Two Metro employees have been arrested and charged with stealing thousands of dollars in coins from the transit authority, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.
It was unclear how much money may have been stolen. Metro General Manager Richard Sarles said in a statement that the transit authority’s chief financial officer will “immediately bring in forensic accountants to conduct a thorough review of control systems and management over revenue systems to fully understand how wrongdoing occurred and to implement tighter detection systems.”
Horace Dexter McDade, 58, of Bowie, a revenue technician, and John Vincent Haile, 54, of Woodbridge, a Metro Transit Police officer, were charged with “conspiring to commit theft from programs receiving federal funds,” according to a news release from prosecutors.
Sarles said that Haile has been suspended without pay and “is in the process of being terminated.” McDade also has been suspended. Sarles said the supervisor of the revenue facility has “been relieved of his duties.”
Sarles said Thursday afternoon just before a board finance committee meeting to discuss the budget, that he was “thoroughly disgusted and dismayed by the actions of the two employees.” He described it as a “betrayal to all the honest employees of Washington Metro.”
“Each night, the Metro put its trust — and its money — in the hands of these two defendants, and these men are accused of ripping off thousands of dollars from the Metro and local taxpayers,” U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride said in a statement.
Court documents state that a confidential source said that between October 2011 and December 2011, Haile brought in more than $28,000 in coins and cash to pay for lottery ticket purchases. His bank records also showed “significant unexplained cash deposit activity in excess of $150,000 since 2008,” according to an investigation and court documents.
McDade services Metro rail stations’ fare machines when they are broken, according to court records. He’s been with Metro since 1979.
Haile works as a transit police officer and provides “protection and security” for revenue technicians as they go throughout the system collecting funds and taking them to Metro’s revenue collection facility in Alexandria. He’s worked for Metro Transit Police since 1997.
The two allegedly conspired to “steal bags of coins while working together transporting funds for Metro in a company vehicle,” court papers stated.
On Jan. 3, before going to the revenue facility in Alexandria as they were supposed to do, Metro Transit Police officers saw McDade and Haile “driving off their route” to a parking lot of a Marriott Courtyard Hotel in Alexandria, where they “hid bags of coins beneath an underpass,” according to court records.
Later that night, the two were caught on video and with a GPS tracker retrieving these “hidden bags of coins on their way home after their shifts ended.” Court records said they did this routine on “repeated numerous times.”
If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of five years in prison. They were arrested Wednesday night without incident and are scheduled to appear before a magistrate judge Thursday at 2 p.m.
Sarles said the investigation was initiated in October 2011 when “financial irregularities were brought to the attention” of Metro’s inspector general.
The investigation was conducted jointly with the inspector general, Metro Transit Police, the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Police and the Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Alexandria.
Metro Transit Police Chief Michael Taborn is expected to do a “top-to-bottom” assessment of all policies and procedures” of officers assigned to the revenue collection unit. He said it may result in reassigning some employees to the unit as the inspector general reviews it and other internal reviews are done.
“I want to say clearly that we will not tolerate theft from Metro, and employees — especially law enforcement personnel — will be held accountable,” he said.
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