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

October 13, 2000 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357


Baltimore - Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., announced today that Mass Transit Administration (MTA) employee Stephanie Olivia Brightful, 37, of the 100 block of Courtland Woods Circle in Pikesville, Maryland, was found guilty in Baltimore City District Court of one count of felony theft. Ms. Brightful had been employed as an MTA bus driver. The Honorable George M. Lipman sentenced Brightful to one year incarceration, suspended that sentence, and placed her on probation for one year. Brightful was also ordered to pay restitution of $1,173 and perform forty hours of community service.

According to evidence cited at trial, the defendant was involved in the theft and resale of large quantities of bus passes. Investigation by MTA police and the Maryland State Police revealed that she was using the computerized fare box in a given bus to print out, without authorization, numerous $3/day bus passes and transferring these to black market ticket dealers. These dealers would then illegally sell the passes on the street and Brightful would receive a percentage of the money collected. Preliminary information concerning the scheme was received by MTA police through informants. Analysis of the MTAís computerized records, generated by the fare boxes on all buses, quantified precisely the number of fraudulent passes.

"That all six former drivers were caught and convicted should send a loud and clear message to others considering similar actions," Attorney General Curran said. "Officials at the MTA are watching, officers with the Maryland State Police are investigating, and the lawyers in our office are prosecuting."

Five other MTA bus drivers were charged by the Attorney Generalís Office and convicted of felony theft under similar circumstances.