Tulsa Transit Estimates Drivers Embezzled Almost $38,000
TULSA, Oklahoma - Six bus drivers were fired by Tulsa Transit Monday; the bus service estimates three of them embezzled almost $38,000.
That's not all that was taken, because three other drivers were allowed to pay back the money in exchange for the city not pursuing charges.
They all lost their jobs, but have a lawyer and want to fight to get their jobs back.
Tulsa Transit discovered it had a problem late last week, and by Monday morning was questioning drivers about unusual numbers of courtesy passes that came from their buses.
The passes are printed out from the fare box on each bus - at the driver's discretion - for passengers on buses that are delayed.
For most drivers, that's not a lot of coupons, but one driver is accused of printing almost 9,000 coupons in the last three-and-a-half months.
According to police records, the transit service has video of drivers printing off tickets without any passengers on the bus.
Three drivers were arrested.
Investigators believe it started at least four months ago, which sources say was discovered when the free passes were being sold with bus drivers accused of pocketing the money.
Driver Lawrence Morgan is accused of printing 630 coupons, with a value of $2,205.
Officers said he admitted printing off the coupons, but denied knowing he was doing anything wrong, and stated "he was trained this way."
Justin Copeland is accused of printing 1,255 coupons, valued at $4,392.
Kenneth Speed is accused of printing 8,911 coupons with a value of $31,188.
The officers who arrested him said he admitted printing the coupons, but also denied knowing it was wrong.
All three drivers face felony complaints of embezzlement.
Copeland is recognizable as the "face" of MTTA.
The three men who were arrested have all bonded out of jail. Their court dates have not been set.