From June 2010 to December 2016, Erves had fake invoices prepared on behalf of the three vendors for more than 40 maintenance projects, according to federal prosecutors. He used false invoices to pay the vendors nearly $523,000 over the years for work they did not perform.
Prosecutors say the three vendors – which have not been identified – funneled most of the money into Erves’ personal bank accounts. Among other things, he used it to buy a Porsche 911 and to make multiple purchases at high-end department stores.
Erves resigned after MARTA opened a criminal investigation into his actions last March. In August, he pleaded guilty to one count of federal program theft.
Erves’ attorney, Marcia Shein, argued for an 18-month sentence. She cited his cooperation with investigators and his decision to turn over all he had from his MARTA retirement account — $298,000 – as restitution. Shein said the vendors who participated in the scheme should cover the remainder of the cost.
Jones rejected the plea for a lighter sentence, noting the scheme lasted for six years and involved hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The FBI and the MARTA Police Department are continuing to investigate the case.
After the sentencing, Shein said her client is trying to take responsibility for his actions. In a written statement, U.S. Attorney Byung J. Pak had a different take.
“Given his executive management position, it is clear that MARTA placed great trust and faith in Erves,” Pak said. “Unfortunately, instead of serving the public interest and taking his civic duty seriously, Erves chose to indulge his desire for money and a fancy car.”
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