CITY HALL — A former Big Blue Bus supervisor could spend a year behind bars after she was convicted this week of allegedly abusing City Hall’s rideshare program that provides employees who use public transit to get to work with free bus passes.
A Los Angeles County jury on Wednesday convicted Crystal Buckner of eight misdemeanor counts including forgery, theft and embezzlement following a six-day trial at the Airport Courthouse, said Terry White, chief deputy city attorney in charge of the criminal division.
Three BBB employees, including Buckner, were arrested after a 2009 audit of City Hall’s transportation demand management program discovered irregularities in applications for free transit passes.
Charges against the other two employees, Michael Brown, a bus driver, and Kalin Green, a transit operations assistant, were dropped. Kalin was a witness for the prosecution in Buckner’s trial.
Brown and Green are no longer employed by the BBB, city officials said.
Buckner is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 25. White said she faces a possible fine of at least $1,000 and up to a year in jail.
During the trial, White said he and co-counsel Alicia Cortrite, a deputy city attorney, alleged Buckner had forged the names of other employees on applications for free transit passes under the EZ pass program. Several BBB employees whose names were allegedly forged testified for the prosecution, White said.
“I’m happy that the city of Santa Monica was policing the program and when we found someone who we thought was involved in wrong doing, we prosecuted them. It didn’t matter that they were a city employee,” White said.