Transit workers accused of theft apparently seeking plea deal
By Dana Hedgpeth,
The two Metro employees accused of stealing thousands of dollars in coins paid by passengers to ride trains are negotiating a possible plea deal, according to court papers.
Federal authorities arrested Horace Dexter McDade, a revenue technician, and John Vincent Haile, a Metro Transit Police officer, Wednesday night and charged them with conspiring to commit theft.
McDade’s job was to collect bills and coins from fare machines and truck the cash to a collection facility in Alexandria, while Haile stood guard. Authorities say the two stashed bags of money for their own use and have been conspiring since at least 2010, according to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court.
It is unclear how much money may have been stolen. Prosecutors say that Haile’s bank records show unexplained cash deposits of more than $150,000 since 2008 and that the probe is ongoing.
The two men appeared Monday before Magistrate Judge John F. Anderson in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. They waived their preliminary hearings.
Attorneys for both men asked that a possible indictment be delayed, saying the defendants are exploring a pre-indictment plea.
McDade’s attorney, Robert Whitestone, said Monday that “some negotiation is involved in every single criminal case that I’ve ever been in. That doesn’t mean it will be successful, but hopefully it will be.”
Steven E. Bullock, attorney for Haile, did not return a phone call seeking comment after Monday afternoon’s hearing.
Dan Stessel, chief spokesman for Metro, said Monday that the agency had brought in Deloitte, a large accounting and professional services firm, to do a forensic accounting review of Metro’s revenue center and “all the processes” of dealing with money there.
The transit agency’s inspector general is also conducting reviews, and Metro Transit Police Chief Michael Taborn is expected to conduct a “top-to-bottom assessment of all policies and procedures” involving officers assigned to the revenue-collection unit, officials said.
Haile used stolen money to buy Virginia Lottery tickets — sometimes paying with bags of change, authorities say. Between October and December, he used more than $28,000 in coins and cash to purchase tickets, according to the affidavit. Records from the Virginia Lottery show that Haile won nearly $63,000 in the past few years.
Stessel said Haile has been fired and McDade has been suspended without pay “pending termination.”
McDade had worked for Metro since February 1979. Haile had worked for the Metro Transit Police since August 1997.
The supervisor of the revenue facility in Alexandria has “been relieved of his duties,” according to a Metro news release. Stessel would not identify that person, saying the “action is a personnel matter rather than a criminal matter.”