Ex-Philly311 Worker Pleads Guilty to SEPTA TransPass Scam

Mark Cooper was accused of printing more than 2,000 counterfeit SEPTA TransPasses.


Everyone has crazy daydreams at work, even city employees. But listen: That foolproof counterfeiting scheme that you’re kicking around is just a bad idea, man.

That’s the lesson that Mark Cooper, a former Philly 311 employee, learned today. Cooper pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiring with a coworker to produce and sell more than 2,000 phony SEPTA TransPasses between August of 2013 and June of 2015, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Cooper, 35, and his cohort, Kimberly Adams, were arrested last summer as part of a joint investigation involving the FBI and the Philadelphia Inspector General’s Office. Cooper and Adams, who also worked for the city, were accused of selling the fake monthly passes primarily to city employees in and around City Hall for about $50. (Actual monthly transpasses go for $91.)

When Cooper was arrested, authorities said he usually purchased an authentic TransPass, and then used that to make the phony copies, which he passed onto Adams to sell. The duo split the proceeds. Investigators found that Cooper owned a MSR605 HiCo Magnetic Card Reader Writer, which was used to create the counterfeit passes.

Cooper will be sentenced in August, and could face up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. Adams, 35, pleaded guilty last August, and is slated to be sentenced later this month.

Follow @dgambacorta on Twitter.