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August 05, 2015

Ex-city workers charged with selling fake SEPTA passes

Pair allegedly sold 2,000 passes to city employees

Crime and Courts Counterfeits
Septa Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

This image shows a SEPTA train.

Federal officials brought criminal charges against a pair of former City of Philadelphia employees who allegedly counterfeited more than 2,000 SEPTA TransPasses, U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger announced Wednesday.

Mark Cooper and Kimberly Adams, both 35 and of Philadelphia, allegedly conspired to produce and sell fake monthly TransPasses, which enable passengers to board SEPTA buses, trolley and subways. The fake passes allegedly were sold predominately to city employees, both inside and outside of City Hall, between August 2013 and June 2015.

The case was initiated by the city's Office of Inspector General and jointly investigated by the FBI and SEPTA's Office of Inspector General.

“We’re not going to let city employees siphon money away from one of the region’s public agencies —especially not in City Hall of all places,” Philadelphia Inspector General Amy Kurland said in a statement. “Our administrative investigation into other employees who were involved in this conspiracy is ongoing.”

Citing the ongoing investigation, an OIG spokesman declined to say how many employees bought fake TransPasses and whether they knew they were purchasing counterfeits. He also declined to name the department in which Cooper and Adams worked, but online searches revealed they each worked for Philly311.

Cooper allegedly obtained a legitimate pass each month and made fake copies using inkjet synthetic paper and magnetic stripe laminate cards. He allegedly transferred them to Adams to sell to customers for about $50. TransPasses typically sell for $91. The pair allegedly split the proceeds.

“This office will not tolerate fraud involving valuable government property,” Memeger said in a statement. “Those who counterfeit SEPTA passes, as the defendant allegedly did here, will be prosecuted and face serious criminal penalties.”

Cooper was charged by indictment with conspiracy to commit access device fraud and possession of access device making equipment. Adams was charged by separate information. If convicted, they each face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $500,000 fine, four years of supervised release and a $200 special assessment.