BEVERLY — The lawyer for the man charged with masterminding a multimillion-dollar scheme to make and sell phony MBTA commuter rail passes said in court yesterday that his client and several others may be about to plead guilty in the case.
William O'Hare, who represents Andres Townes, told a Salem Superior Court judge yesterday during a brief hearing that Townes and several of his co-defendants want to return to court Friday to try to resolve the case short of a trial.
Townes will be back in court Friday, his 28th birthday, along with girlfriend Gloria Escobar, 27; Alex Saunders, 28, of Beverly; and Joceline Townes, 41, of Attleboro.
O'Hare told Judge John Lu that there have been discussions between the defense attorneys and prosecutor Gina Masotta.
Neither the lawyer nor the prosecutor offered any hint of the potential penalty that Townes and his co-defendants are facing under any plea agreements.
Townes and Escobar, who were living in Revere before their arrests last year, were the first ones charged in the scheme, in which Townes allegedly used his access to equipment at the Beverly company where he worked, Cubic Transportation Systems, to make fake passes.
Escobar and the others would sell the passes at a steep discount over what a real pass would cost, using sites like Craigslist, prosecutors allege.
The scheme began to unravel when a conductor noticed that the pass presented by one commuter looked different.
A fifth suspect, Amal Susan Zakhary-Gillis, 46, had been scheduled to appear yesterday, but her lawyer, Kevin Reddington, told the judge she recently fell off a ladder and broke four vertebrae in her back. Her case was postponed until June 1.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis may be reached at 978-338-2521 or email@example.com.