Here is another tale of an free enterprise gone bad. The gent is from Medford. He is 28 years of age and his name is Casey Kolenda (albeit hereinafter, the “Defendant”).
According to the Boston Herald’s story on the subject, found here, the Defendant has pleaded guilty to making and selling counterfeit Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority passes. In return for his plea of guilt he was sentenced to three years in prison. The specific charges he plead to were seven counts of counterfeiting.
The victory announcement was made by Attorney General Maura Healey, who’s office prosecuted the case.
“This scheme resulted in significant revenue loss for the MBTA and was patently unfair to riders who paid the full cost of their transit passes,” Healey said in a statement. “Schemes such as this one, in which an individual commits crimes for personal gain at the expense of the public, will not be tolerated.”
Transit Police Chief Kenneth Green added, “Let this serve as a strong reminder that the MBTA and the Transit Police will not tolerate fraud…Hardworking, honest, fare paying MBTA customers deserve and expect our full attention to such criminal behavior. The successful prosecution of this case is the result of a collaborative partnership between Transit Police detectives and the Attorney General’s office.”
According to the Commonwealth, the investigation into the Defendant’s activities revealed that he “orchestrated a scheme to fraudulently create counterfeit $70 monthly MBTA subway and bus passes, known as ‘LinkPasses,’ between October 2013 and March 2014…electronic data stored on the LinkPass magnetic strip e was copied using a magnetic stripe reader, also known as a ‘skimmer.’ That data was then downloaded onto the magnetic stripes of hundreds of MBTA stored-value cards that were purchased for as little as five cents at ticket kiosks.”
In terms of damages, the MBTA says that the Defendant is responsible for more than 60 counterfeit MBTA passes in circulation during the above-mentioned time period. Investigators estimate that the lost revenue attributable to the counterfeit tickets made and sold by the Defendant was in excess of $225,000.
Attorney Sam’s Take On “Victimless Crimes” That Actually Have Victims
There are various ways that this this case could have been prosecuted. One question is whether the Defendant could have accomplished all this by himself. I anyone acted jointly with him in the scheme, no matter how small a role that person played, both could have found themsevles facing conspiracy charges as well. In such a case, each could be held responsible for what the other did in the furtherance of that conspiracy.
…Or become a witness for the prosecution and simply bury the former cohort.
I find that many such “quick-starters” figure that if the intended victim of a potential scheme is a big busienss or agency, then it is really a victimless crime. After all, they have enough money, don’t they?
Well, one might wonder if the MBTA is so wealthy when one reviews its performance this past winter.
But, I suppose, I digress.
The important thing, as far as this blog’s subject matter, is concerned, is that the Commonwealth doesnot view it this way. In fact, it allows the prosecution to wear the “we protect society itself” hat when it busts such activities. In other words, it is taken quite seriously.
You see, when one steals from a public agency like this, any loss is made up by the taxpayer or the customer who sees fares get higher.
Or just watches the agency’s infastructure weaken further.
Did I mention this past winter?
At any rate, do not expect the prosecution to take anything close to a “Robin Hood-esque” attitude in such, or any, matters.
I remind you that the Sherrif of Nottingham, for those who know the story, was law enforcement.