- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 19, 2008

DISTRICT

Metro discovers fake fare cards

Metro officials said they have uncovered a sophisticated counterfeiting scheme, but they don’t yet know the extent of the fraud.

Police have arrested six people in the scheme and charged them with felony theft.

The investigation is continuing and officials don’t believe they have caught the ringleader, Metro Transit Police Chief Michael Taborn said.

The thieves created fare cards that did not look legitimate, but could fool the fare machines in the stations, officials said.

They would trade in the counterfeit cards for legitimate ones at the machines and sell the legitimate ones at a reduced price.

To minimize future losses, Metro is reducing the maximum value of a paper fare card that can be traded in from $40 to $7. It is also turning off any SmarTrip cards that were bought by trading in counterfeits.

VIRGINIA

VIRGINIA BEACH

Rove protested at fundraiser

Karl Rove’s appearance at a fundraiser for Rep. Thelma Drake drew protesters to the Virginia Beach event.

The former White House adviser attended the fundraiser Friday at a local steakhouse while about 40 people gathered outside. Some carried signs reading “Arrest Karl Rove” and “Shame on Thelma Drake.”

Earlier this week, Democrats called on Miss Drake, a Republican, to cancel the sold-out fundraiser. They cited Mr. Rove’s defiance of a congressional subpoena last week.

ALEXANDRIA

Contractor charged in Iraq fuel theft

A South Carolina man has been charged with making false statements as military investigators probe the apparent theft of nearly $40 million in fuel from a U.S. Army base in Iraq.

Lee William Dubois was arrested Friday at Washington Dulles International Airport. At an initial appearance in federal court in Alexandria. Mr. Dubois was ordered held pending a detention hearing Monday.

In a court affidavit, an Army investigator said Mr. Dubois and his conspirators stole 10.5 million gallons of jet and diesel fuel valued at $39.6 million from Camp Liberty in Baghdad.

The fuel was taken between June of last year and May and sold on the black market, investigators said.

The affidavit states that Mr. Dubois fraudulently obtained access cards that allowed him to tap into the base’s fuel tanks.

MARYLAND

BALTIMORE

Woman sentenced for embezzlement

A federal judge has sentenced a Mount Airy woman to prison for defrauding a client, a Cub Scout pack and a parent teacher association out of $236,000.

Angela Hiltz, 43, was sentenced to three years. She was a bookkeeper at a business where she pleaded guilty to embezzling about $180,000 from 2006 to 2007.

She embezzled the funds from a client of her company by forging her employer’s signature, federal prosecutors said.

Hiltz was also a treasurer for a Howard County elementary school’s PTA and a Cub Scout pack. Total losses for those organizations were about $52,000.

Hiltz has to pay restitution to all three victims, prosecutors said.

Hiltz used the money to buy Ravens’ tickets, pay bills and furnish a home she had in Little River, S.C., authorities said.

COLLEGE PARK

UMd. printed personal information

The University of Maryland said it accidentally printed Social Security numbers on the outside of a mailing sent to all students.

The school said the brochure about on-campus parking went out July 1. It discovered a week later that each mailing label contained the recipient’s Social Security number.

The university apologized in an e-mail to students Thursday and advised them to put a 90-day fraud alert on their consumer credit files. The school is also offering a one-year credit monitoring service from Equifax, at no charge to students.

The school said it has no information that any of the Social Security numbers have been misused.

BALTIMORE

Officials changed standardized test

State education officials said they changed the Maryland School Assessment this year in a way experts say contributed to an unusually large improvement in scores.

The test given in grades three through eight in reading and math for the past five years was shorter but not easier, experts said. That may have meant students taking the test were less tired.

State schools Deputy Superintendent Ronald Peiffer said there was a psychological advantage, but that doesn’t mean the test wasn’t as difficult.

Maryland saw significant improvements on the MSA this year, particularly among black and low-income students and those learning English.

The state also substituted locally written questions for a small number of questions.

The changes were justified, but they make comparisons with previous results imperfect, observers say.

From staff reports and wire dispatches

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