Episode 168: John Kundts – Counterfeit SEPTA TransPasses

Retired agent John Kundts served in the FBI for twenty years. His first assignment was to the Philadelphia Division where he initially worked Fraud Against the Government matters. In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, John Kundts reviews the 1981 counterfeit SEPTA TransPasses case where two men using specialty paper, printed and sold fake monthly fare instruments. Before the investigation, the transit agency’s losses from the scheme totaled $1 million a month.

After a promotion to FBI Headquarters, John worked first in the Inspection Division, Office of Planning, Evaluations, and Audits and then in the Personnel office where he adjudicated employees determined by the Inspection Division to have been involved in serious administrative or illegal disputes. The unit was affectionately known as the “You Fail, We Nail” group. He also worked in the Office of Public and Congressional Affairs.

Later in his career,  he was transferred to the Denver Division where he was the supervisor of the Special Operations Group (SOG), which conducted surveillance operations throughout the Denver Division territory which encompassed all of Colorado and Wyoming supporting case agents by providing ground, air, and electronic surveillance. Upon retiring, John Kundts, took up another challenging role, being a stay-at-home-dad caring for his two young daughters.

Special Agent (Retired)

John Kundts

7/9/1979 – 3/31/2000







“We found a treasure trove of evidence… They had already made the printing plate for the SEPTA passes for the next month.”

The following are links to newspaper articles about the 1980 – 1981 counterfeit SEPTA TransPasses case and a more recent investigation and conviction:

Philadelphia Inquirer – 11/28/1980: 2 charged in probe of fake SEPTA passes

Philadelphia Inquirer – 6/13/1981: Man, 40, guilty in scheme counterfeited SEPTA passes

Philly.com – 5/10/2016: Ex-city worker pleads guilty to selling counterfeit SEPTA passes

PhillyMag.com – 8/5/2015: Feds: Pair Sold Counterfeit SEPTA Passes to City Hall Workers

A SEPTA TransPass is valid for rides on  bus, trolley, subway or Norristown High Speed Line. The monthly counterfeit SEPTA TransPasses looked similar to this weekly one.













After retiring from the FBI in 2008, I worked for seven years as the Director of Media Relations and the spokesperson for SEPTA. It was the second best job I ever had.












Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 200 episodes available for free subscription on all popular podcast apps.

1 Comment

  1. Lisa GunnoeJune 9, 2020

    I’m listening to this episode now. I’m always stunned at the creative ideas criminals come up with to “make” money! Imagine if they put that effort and creativity Into legal ideas!


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