The two men were arrested in January. They appeared Monday before Judge Leonie M. Brinkema in U.S. District Court in Alexandria.
McDade and Haile both agreed to waive indictment and plead guilty to two counts: theft concerning federal funds and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Each faces up to 30 years in prison, potential fines of $750,000 and payment of restitution. Prosecutors said that they are still working with Metro to figure out how much money was stolen and that the figure could rise to $600,000.
Sentencing was set for June 15.
Prosecutors said the thefts had been underway since at least 2010.
The pair systematically worked stations on Metro’s rail lines in the District, Maryland, and Virginia, according to prosecutors. Investigators found that Haile would often switch his security assignment with other officers so he could work with McDade.
According to court records, surveillance teams observed McDade and Haile over three days in December and January. The two would ride through a hotel parking lot on Eisenhower Avenue to an overpass, unload bags of money from a van and hide the cash. Later, each man would return separately — Haile in a gray Jaguar, McDade in a green Ford — to retrieve the money, according to court records and those involved in the case. Investigators placed Global Positioning System tracking devices on their cars and the Metro van.
The underpass is about a quarter-mile from Metro’s revenue-collection facility and is in the opposite direction of Haile’s route home to Woodbridge, authorities said.
Court records described the pair’s “taking, hiding, retrieving, and ultimately stealing” Metro funds as a frequent pattern.
On the night they were arrested, Jan. 18, McDade and Haile took and hid four bags of money in the brush underneath the overpass in the hotel parking lot. They came back later that evening, and each took two bags. The men were arrested as they were driving away.
On a nearly nightly basis, court records said, Haile used stolen money to buy Virginia Lottery tickets, authorities said. Sometimes he would bring in bags containing $500 worth of stolen coins. Between October and December, he used more than $28,000 in coins and paper money to purchase tickets, according to court records.
And Haile won frequently. In 2011, he won 29 times, totaling $32,000, records show. He also won amounts under $600, but the Virginia Lottery doesn’t require retailers to document personal information for those lesser amounts.
Prosecutors said that Haile’s bank records show unexplained cash deposits of more than $150,000 since 2008.