Abeselom Hailemariam has pleaded guilty for his participation in a conspiracy to steal approximately $1.4 million of visitor parking fees at the Smithsonian Institution’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.
Hailemariam was the location manager for Parking Management Inc., (PMI), the company contracted to manage the 2,000-vehicle parking lot at the Udvar-Hazy Center. Hailemariam supervised the PMI booth attendants at the location, accounted for revenues from visitor vehicles that entered the parking lot, and submitted operations reports to PMI and the Smithsonian.
Over a period of three years, Hailemariam and several booth attendants stole approximately $1.4 million in museum parking fees paid for at least 92,213 visitor vehicles.
Booth attendants withheld parking ticket stubs from paying customers and unplugged electronic vehicle counters in the entrance booths. At the end of each shift, these attendants would submit a false shift summary report to Hailemariam that under-reported the number of vehicles which had entered the parking lot. Hailemariam then compiled the fraudulent data and submitted falsified reports to PMI, which were provided to the Smithsonian.
Attendants paid Hailemariam a share of the stolen revenues at the end of the day by bundling unreported cash with the shift summary reports.
Two other former PMI employees were also convicted and have been sentenced for their roles in the thefts.
The investigation was initiated by the Smithsonian Office of the Inspector General and jointly investigated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Parking Today magazine had a very good point – where was PMI when all of this was going on? Apparently a simple audit by the Smithsonian conducted by counting the cars that pulled in and reconciling that to the cash totals for the day was enough to highlight the problem.
The loss of parking fees is not an isolated incident and occurs in facilities throughout the world.
Robotic Parking Systems Inc ensures that 100 % of parking revenues go directly to the owner’s bank account without loss due to theft of cash. We offer multiple options for cash-less payment and parking garage access. We work directly with developers and owners to design the most workable system for their project.
Sources: FBI / Parking Today