One of the highest ranking officials of the U.S. Marshall's Service pleaded guilty yesterday to accepting a $500 bribe to help arrange a prisoner's transfer.

Parts of the bribery scheme were carried out in the executive offices of the Marshal's Service where Ellsworth T. Olds, 48, of 8844 Tamar Dr., Columbia, Md., was employed as the special assistant for minority affairs, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Theodore A. Shmanda of the major crimes division.

Olds entered his plea to one count of bribery which carries a possible maximum prison term of 15 years , before U.S. District Judge Oliver Gasch. Sentencing will be set later, and Olds is free on bond.

The plea followed a detailed outline of the bribery plot by Shmanda, who said a Drug Enforcement Administration informant in Philadelphia provided the first information that Olds reportedly could "help" defendants in criminal cases.

Shmanda said the DEA informant provided the information in March when he learned that Philadelphia man "had a friend in Washington" who could help the informant's friend who was in a New york jail.

The informant and the Philadelphia man came to Washington March 29 and met with Olds in his marshal-s service office at 550 11th St. NW. Shmanda sad. Olds made some calls about the prisoner in their presence, Shmanda added, and said "he did not work for nothing."

The informant said he saw the Philadelphia man hand money to Olds, and was informed later that it was a $300 intial payment, the prosecutor said.

The next meeting between Olds and the informant occured in New York City when Olds was there on official business, and the informant introduced Olds to undercover DEA agent William Payne, Shmanda said.

Payne was introduced to Olds as a "friend and sonsultant" of the prisoner, who was apparently unaware of the steps allegedly being taken in his behalf, Shmanda added. Olds told Payne he could help the prisoner if he got transferred from New York to Washington, where he faced criminal charges as well, Shmanda said.

"I don't charge anything, but I'll accept what you give," Olds was quoted as saying to Payne. Payne then gave him $300 in the marshal's service office in New York, Shmanda added.

Payne paid Olds another $500 on April 10 in the District at Olds request, the prosecutor said.

Shmanda reported numerous occasions on which Olds would make telephones calls or take other actions to attempt to get the prisoner transferred, and said Olds claimed one time that he had gotten the prisoner tranferred to Washinton when in fact law enforcement authorities had arranged the move.

After he was unable to move the prisoner around as he had promised, Olds said he could get a letter in to the prisoner, Shmanda continued.

Olds was arrested May 1 after accepting $300 from Payne, along with the letter he had suggested, the prosecutor said.