Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ethiopia: Parking attendant sentenced in scam that netted almost $1.4 million in fees

The pair of parking lot attendants at the Smithsonian Institution’s air and space center in Chantilly were very patient. And for a while, anyway, their patience paid off. Car by car, truck by truck, SUV by SUV — as thousands of drivers handed over the $15 parking fee for the lot at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, the booth attendants pocketed it. One of them hauled off wads of cash in a red duffel bag. To mask their thefts, they doctored the daily work sheets and unplugged the machine that counted a car every time the gate was raised and lowered. Fifteen dollars here and $15 there added up very quickly. Since 2009, the two attendants stole almost $1.4 million in parking fees, court records show. The full scope of the theft became known Friday at the sentencing of Freweyni Mebrahtu, 46, of Sterling, who admitted stealing $900,000. That’s on top of the nearly $487,000 theft previously disclosed during the January sentencing of her colleague, Meseret Terefe, 37, of Silver Spring. Mebrahtu was sentenced to 27 months in prison Friday and Meseret received a 20-month term in a scheme as simplistic in its execution as it is remarkable for its yield.The losses were about 10 percent of the total gross parking revenue for the museum in a little more than three years, according to Smithsonian officials. Source (Washington Post)


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