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Ex-MTA Official Gets 2 Years for Cheating Agency of $84,000

September 16, 1998

A former top official at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority was sentenced to two years in federal prison for cheating the transit agency out of $84,000.

Until she was fired, Jeannie I. Johnson, 53, held the post of MTA's acting controller with responsibility for all accounting, financial records, budgeting and auditing.

Authorities said her crimes began when she worked as a consultant for the agency and continued after she was appointed to the high-level post.

While supervising a project to upgrade the MTA's accounting system, Johnson was discovered to have accepted kickbacks from accountants she hired.

The MTA was billed $55 an hour for their services, but the accountants received about $30 an hour, with Johnson pocketing the difference.

Convicted on 29 mail fraud counts after a 16-day trial last year, she could have received a maximum of five years in prison.

In sentencing her Monday, U.S. District Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw said Johnson had also obstructed justice by telling "big and small lies" during her trial.

Johnson, now of Walnut Creek, was ordered to pay $84,000 in restitution and to begin serving her sentence on Nov. 30.

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