Office of Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.

June 14, 2000 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357

Bus Driver Pleads Guilty to Stealing Hundreds of Bus Passes in Black Market Scheme

Baltimore - Joseph Curran, Jr., announced today that Mass Transit Administration (MTA) employee Jacenta Valerie Scott, 36, of the 1600 block of North Forest Park Avenue in Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty in the District Court of Maryland for Baltimore City to one count of felony theft.

According to the statement of facts read into the record, Ms. Scott, who began employment as an MTA bus driver in January of 1999, was involved in the theft of large quantities of bus passes. Investigation by the MTA Police and the Maryland State Police revealed that she used the computerized fare box in a given bus to print, without authorization, numerous $3/day bus passes. These passes were eventually transferred to black market ticket dealers who would then illegally sell the passes on the street. Preliminary information was received by MTA Police through informants. Analysis of the MTA's computerized records, generated by the fare boxes on all buses, quantified with precision the number of fraudulent passes.

"Ms. Scott broke the law by her participation in this greedy scheme to steal from the state," Attorney General Curran said. "The system put in place by the MTA permits them to monitor the authorized and un-authorized printing of bus passes, allowing them to remain one step ahead of the criminals who think they've found a way to beat the system."

The Honorable Charlotte M. Cooksey sentenced Scott to five years' incarceration, suspended that sentence, and placed her on probation for two years. Scott was also ordered to pay restitution of $1,036.00. Five other MTA bus drivers have been charged with Felony Theft under similar circumstances. Two individuals have already been found guilty and the others have trial dates set in July and August.