A former parking lot manager at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC has pleaded guilty to his involvement in a conspiracy to steal more than $1 million in visitors’ parking fees.
For just over three years, Abeselom Hailemariam was the manager at the 2,000-vehicle parking lot servicing the renowned museum precinct. He was responsible for supervising parking-booth attendants and accounting for revenue.
Prosecutors have alleged that under Mr Hailemariam’s supervision, attendants would keep visitors’ parking fees and conceal the thefts by failing to hand out serialised parking tickets and by unplugging the electronic vehicle counters in the booths.
The conspiracy involved the attendants paying Mr Hailemariam a share of the stolen revenues amounting to almost $1.4 million. Having pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit theft of public money, he is scheduled to be sentenced in July, facing a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
According to the Washington Post Mr Hailemariam was arrested at Dulles International Airport where he was returning from Ethiopia after five months residing there.
Two former parking-booth attendees who were part of the conspiracy have already pleaded guilty to their roles in the thefts and have been handed sentences of between 2 and 3 years.