A DeKalb County grand jury recently indicted seven co-conspirators for their respective roles in an elaborate scheme involving hundreds of Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) Breeze cards. Jedadia Byrd, Robert Clark, Christina Carney, Michael Dallas, Stephanie Finger, Pierre Metteaux and Melvin Summers were all indicted on felony racketeering charges.

The co-conspirators would fraudulently place value on MARTA Breeze cards – for unlimited weekly or monthly rides — after purchasing legitimate cards for $1. The group then distributed the altered Breeze cards to MARTA riders for a discounted cash price.  The ring used flyers to advertise their organization, which they called “Underground Railroad,” according to the indictment.

“Essentially, this scheme outlined in the indictment spells out an elaborate plot to bilk MARTA through a theft of services,” said District Attorney Robert James in a press release. “These co-conspirators allegedly infiltrated the MARTA computer network to illegally program Breeze cards and offer free rides for customers of the ‘Underground Railroad’ scheme.”

In December 2013, MARTA officials discovered the fraudulent cards. After conducting an investigation, police arrested Summers, Metteaux and Byrd on Dec. 9. The other conspirators were arrested later that month.

“This intricate scheme took place across the entire metro Atlanta area,” said James. Distributors of the fraudulent cards were stationed at various terminals including H.E. Holmes, Five Points, Chamblee and Doraville stations.

The co-defendants’ arraignment has not been set. Jeanne Canavan will serve as lead prosecutor on this case.

Ann Marie Quill

Ann Marie Quill is Associate Editor at Reporter Newspapers.