by: Amy Clancy Updated:
Sea-Tac Airport’s Credential Center Manager, Maleaka Carroll-Jones, is being investigated for stealing up to $113,824 in cash.
All of the nearly 15,000 Port of Seattle employees, many of whom work at Sea-Tac Airport, have security badges. When a badge is lost, the employee responsible must pay a fine of $250 and security violation fines that range from $50-$500.
According to Port of Seattle Police documents, as the Credential Center Manager, Jones has been in charge of collecting and depositing those fines since 2007.
Last November, Jones came under suspicion when a Port of Seattle accountant noticed “that the Credential Center was collecting cash that wasn’t being deposited into its Bank of America account.”
An investigation revealed that, while Jones was manager, cash deposits decreased significantly from $12,500 in 2008 to $653 in 2012. There were no cash deposits made in 2013, according to police documents.
Robbie Cagle is a former baggage handler at Sea-Tac who now lives in New Orleans. When KIRO 7 first broke this story, he recognized Jones and got in touch with us.
He says when he lost his security badge; he went to pay for a new one. He distinctly remembers that Jones was the one who helped him because he thought she was so rude. It also stood out to him that she said they only accepted cash.
He now knows that he could have paid with a credit card, but at the time he had to borrow from his mother to cover the bill. He was only making minimum wage at the time, and the $250 fee ate up half his paycheck.
Now he’s guessing Jones, whose salary is about $80,000/year, pocketed the money.
“That’s just absolutely appalling,” he said. “I mean the greed … especially in those types of positions. I mean 80 thousand is not bad at all, and she’s stealing from people.”
KIRO 7 tried to get Jones' side of the story by visiting her Pierce County home on Tuesday. No one answered the door, but Jones apparently admitted to the theft.
According to police documents, “she realized that the situation didn’t look good for her” when detectives interviewed her on March 4th. At that meeting, Jones "took full responsibility for the missing money." That was also the day Jones was placed on unpaid leave.
A source at the airport told KIRO 7 that whether there have been any security violations by Jones is still being investigated. At this point, the source said there is no indication of that, but Jones was Manager of the Credential Center, which is responsible for issuing security badges to all airport employees.
Perry Cooper, a spokesman for Sea-Tac, said he could not comment because the case is still under investigation.
Jones has not been arrested or charged with a crime. She does have a “history of civil debt judgments” and “is also the subject of two IRS property tax liens” according to court documents.