Former Metro Official Is Charged With Theft

By Lena H. Sun
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A former Metro supervisor is accused of stealing $500,000 in cash proceeds from the sale of Metro fare cards and bus tokens, officials said yesterday.

Marcia Anderson, 46, of Silver Spring is scheduled to appear this morning in U.S. District Court in Washington. She was charged with wire fraud in a criminal information -- a document filed by the prosecution, with the defendant's consent, that often signals an imminent guilty plea. The court docket lists her appearance as a "plea agreement hearing."

Anderson stole the money from 2001 until she was fired in October 2007, according to the criminal information and Metro officials. During that time, she was a supervisor responsible for collecting and accounting for cash from three Metro sales offices in the District -- two bus garages and the sales office at the Metro Center station. The offices sell fare cards, bus tokens, student passes, senior citizen passes and other fare media.

It is the first time in Metro's history that there has been a theft of this magnitude, officials said.

"This one person, out of their greed, took Metro dollars from the public and cast a negative reflection on this agency and on the other 10,000 employees who work here," Metro General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. said.

Catoe said that no one else was involved in the scheme and that Metro has seized Anderson's bank accounts and automobiles, which together were worth about $75,000.

"We're determining what other assets she has," he said. "We're going to go after every piece. She has to pay this back."

Anderson could not be reached for comment. Her attorney, Billy L. Ponds, did not return a telephone call to his office.

According to the charging document, Anderson supervised the activities of 10 to 15 salesclerks and handled the cash they received each day. Anderson put expired or canceled Metrocheks in the cashiers' drawers to offset the cash that she took, the document says. Metrocheks, which are paper cards with magnetic stripes, are used to pay transit fares and are commonly provided by employers as transit subsidies.

Anderson also logged on to the computer system after salesclerks left for the day and rebalanced the cash collected, the charging document says. She "falsely represented the amount of cash" and "falsely increased the amount of Metrocheks" the agency had received, the document says.

In addition, Anderson allegedly forged the salesclerks' signatures on daily reports faxed to a Metro treasury office. The reports were used to verify sales and the amount of cash that had been sent via carrier to the treasury office each day, according to the court document.

Catoe said officials became aware of possible wrongdoing in May. An employee involved in auditing the Metrochek program alerted a supervisor, who contacted Metro Transit Police. Police and the Metro inspector general's office began investigating.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2008 The Washington Post Company