Amtrak Financial Specialist Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

WASHINGTON — A Financial Specialist for Amtrak since 1975 has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $74,000, federal officials said.

Douglas L. Thompson, 60, pleaded guilty earlier to a one-count Information charging theft from a program receiving federal funds in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia before Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola. The case is set for a further status hearing on Oct. 3 before Judge James Robertson. Thompson faces a possible sentence of up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and an obligation to make restitution for the amounts embezzled from Amtrak.

Under the voluntary Sentencing Guidelines, Thompson faces between 12 and 18 months of incarceration and a fine of between $3,000 and $30,000.

According to a Statement of Offense adopted as part of the plea proceedings, beginning in 2006, Thompson was one of the employees primarily responsible for maintenance of the Manual Credit Card System (“MCCS”) — an accounting system that permits Amtrak personnel to give manual refunds to a customer’s credit card. The system is typically used to give a customer’s credit card a refund in situations where traditional swipe-card readers are not available, such as when a customer is refunded for a purchase made from Amtrak while aboard a train.

Thompson manipulated the MCCS system so that he could award credits to his personal credit cards without making a corresponding purchase from Amtrak. Thompson applied these false “refunds” to nine different credit cards, each of which were in his own name, officials said.

Over the course of two years, Thompson gave himself more than 244 bogus “refunds” with an aggregate value of $74,029.04.

— News Wire