Transit Police report the arrest of Casey Kolenda, 27, on charges he used a magnetic-strip reader to create hundreds of bogus $70 Link Passes starting sometime last year.
According to police:
Authorities identified multiple monthly Link Passes that were purchased legitimately and subsequently used to create hundreds of forged tickets used by riders.
Authorities allege that Kolenda orchestrated a scheme to fraudulently create counterfeit $70 monthly MBTA subway and bus passes, known as “Link Passes,” between October 2013 and March 2014. The investigation revealed that the electronic data stored on the Link Pass magnetic strip was copied using a magnetic strip reader, also known as a “skimmer.” The electronic data was downloaded onto the magnetic strips of hundreds of MBTA stored-value cards that Kolenda purchased for as little as five cents at ticket kiosks. Kolenda then disguised the forged passes by applying contact paper that bore the production history of the original Link Pass, as well as the MBTA’s trademarked “T” logo. Similar in appearance and now encoded with the electronic data copied from the Link Pass, the counterfeit cards could be used at any MBTA fare gate in the same manner as the original pass.
The joint investigation revealed that hundreds of counterfeit passes bearing the electronic data of the original were distributed and used on a monthly basis by MBTA riders, sometimes more than 15,000 times in one month. Investigators estimate that the lost revenue attributable to the forged tickets manufactured and distributed by Kolenda approaches $200,000.
Kolenda was scheduled for arraignment in Somerville District Court today on five counts of counterfeiting with value over $10,000.