Three defendants plead guilty in massive MBTA pass scam

Three of the defendants in the massive MBTA pass scam uncovered last year have pleaded guilty and the ringleader will serve three years in state prison, the attorney general’s office said today.

Andres Townes of Revere received the toughest sentence handed down today in Essex Superior Court by Judge Howard Whitehead. Townes’s associates Gloria Escobar and Joceline Townes received two years in the House of Correction and three months in the House of Correction, respectively, the attorney general’s office said.

Andres Townes, was arrested in May 2011. He was accused of printing more than 20,000 MBTA passes at a facility in Beverly, beginning in 2007, while he was working as an MBTA subcontractor — and selling them on Craigslist.

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Prosecutors alleged that Townes admitted printing $4 million worth of passes, but some of them had not been sold at the time of his arrest.

The scheme began to unravel when a sharp-eyed conductor on a commuter train noticed a pass that appeared to be colored differently and the rider admitted buying it through Craigslist.

Authorities later found the pass was authentic but never activated by the MBTA, which received no revenue from it.

Townes was charged with making false entries in corporate books, larceny over $250, conspiracy to commit larceny, and three counts of conspiracy to commit receiving stolen property.

Escobar was charged with larceny over $250 and conspiracy to commit larceny. Joceline Townes, Andres Townes’s sister, was charged with receiving stolen property over $250 and conspiracy to commit receiving stolen property, the attorney general’s office said.

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