Another Smithsonian parking attendant at Chantilly air and space center admits theft

Another former parking attendant at the Smithsonian’s air and space center in Chantilly, Va., pleaded guilty Thursday to pocketing drivers’ $15 fees instead of turning in the money as she should have, then taking steps to make sure no one would notice the missing cash.

Seble Bersoma, 53, of Arlington, admitted in federal court Thursday that she pocketed at least $3,000 when she worked as a parking attendant at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, turning off an electronic vehicle counter or not giving parkers paper tickets to help cover her tracks. She is the latest of several former employees of Parking Management Inc., which ran the lot at the center, to admit wrongdoing in the scheme that prosecutors say netted some in the group more than a million dollars.

Many others have already pleaded guilty and been sentenced, and Bersoma, who acknowledged her theft ran from about March 2009 to March 2013, appears to be a fairly low-level player. While the exact amount she stole is still in dispute, federal prosecutors said it was no more than $40,000.

Bersoma pleaded guilty to a charge of theft of public money and faces a maximum of 10 years in prison at her June 6 sentencing. Her defense attorney, Larry Williams, said after the hearing that she was “extraordinarily remorseful for the situation.”

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Matt Zapotosky covers the federal district courthouse in Alexandria, where he tries to break news from a windowless office in which he is not allowed to bring his cell phone.
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