Metro Workers Charged With Theft From Fare Machines

Systematically pilfered from malfunctioning fare machines, prosecutors say

Federal prosecutors say two Metro employees stole thousands of dollars in coins from malfunctioning fare machines, and used the proceeds to buy massive quantities of instant lottery tickets.

Horace D. McDade, 58, of Bowie, and John V. Haile, 54, of Woodbridge, were arrested by Metro Transit Police. They have been charged with conspiring to commit theft from programs receiving federal funds.

The investigation began after a source reported that Haile routinely pulled up in a Jaguar to a store in Woodbridge with $500 bags of coins to buy lottery tickets. Haile allegedly brought in a total of more than $28,000 in coins and cash between October and December 2011, according to an affidavit.

"Bank records obtained during the course of the investigation report Haile with significant unexplained cash deposit activity in excess of $150,000 since 2008," the affidavit says.

Lottery records show Haile won $32,000 in 2011, and that only counts winning tickets of $600 or more.

Haile, as a Metro police officer, had been tasked with provide security for money transports, and McDade worked as a revenue technician.

Although money is often collected via "money train," teams also work on their own. (Money trains travel between stations without passengers on board, to collect money from fare machines. Usually several armed officers accompany a technician.)

McDade was assigned to service the fare machines, replenish money and collect it when the machines were full. Haile, when not working on a money train, often changed his schedule to work with McDade instead, said the affidavit.

The two had conspired since at least 2010, according to the affidavit.

For example, on Jan. 3, 2012, McDade and Haile were observed hiding two bags of coins beneath an underpass, and returned later to retrieve them. Their actions were also captured on video surveillance and a GPS tracker, the affidavit said.

In a press release Thursday, Metro said that Haile been suspended without pay and is in the process of being terminated. McDade has also  been suspended. In addition, "[t]he supervisor responsible for the revenue facility has been relieved of his duties," Metro said.

Metro said it began its investigation in October 2011, when the "financial irregularities" were brought to its attention.

The transit authority said it will bring in forensic accountants to review what happened and to implement a tighter detection system for the future.

The investigation was conducted jointly by Metro authorities, the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Police, and Virginia's Attorney for the City of Alexandria.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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