June 15, 2016
Former Ithaca, New York, Transit Agency Employee Suspended by FTA
On June 15, 2016, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) suspended Pamela Johnson from Federal contracting related to an embezzlement scheme. In June 2015, Johnson pleaded guilty to grand larceny and was sentenced in Tompkins County, New York State Court, for her role in an embezzlement scheme against Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit (TCAT). Johnson was sentenced to three months in jail, followed by three months of home confinement and five years’ probation, and was ordered to pay $247,785 in restitution to TCAT.
While employed as the Accounts Assistant for TCAT from 2009 to 2014, Johnson embezzled $247,785 through improper payments to a company named Johnson Tool Design (JTD). The investigation determined that JTD was owned by her husband, Robert A. Johnson. FTA provided over $14 million in grant funds to TCAT during this period.
The embezzlement scheme was uncovered during an annual financial audit that determined that Johnson was paying fraudulent JTD invoices from TCAT accounts. Johnson conducted this scheme by creating and submitting fraudulent JTD invoices to TCAT. Johnson paid the invoices utilizing TCAT checks and fraudulently signed the checks with a rubberstamp bearing the signature of TCAT’s Purchasing and Project Manager. Johnson was entrusted to hold the signature stamp for emergency purposes only. Johnson deposited the TCAT checks into the JTD business account, the same bank account she used for the direct deposit of her TCAT paychecks.
Note: Exclusion actions (suspensions and debarments) are frequently for a specific period of time, and the System for Award Management (sam.gov) should be consulted to find whether a company is currently excluded.