Maurice Owens, Metro banana peel scam artist, charged with fraud

(Photo: Metro Transit Police Department)

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Metro has turned the tables on one slippery scam artist, charging him with fraud after he was caught on video dropping a banana peel in an elevator, then slipping on it in order to snag a big settlement from WMATA.

Maurice Owens was arrested earlier this month and charged with second-degree fraud for his attempt to fake his way into a settlement check from Metro.

Owens, who was seeking $15,000 from WMATA, claimed he slipped on a banana peel that was left in the elevator of the Potomac Avenue station by a janitor.

Owens' case was undercut by security footage from the elevator, in which the floor appears clear until Owens enters by himself, holding an object in his hand. A few seconds later, he drops the object to the floor.

When the elevator door reopens, Owens steps out of the elevator and seems to intentionally slip on the object he dropped, tumbling out of the elevator onto the station floor.

As a result of the incident, Owens claimed he suffered injuries to his hip and leg and was transported to the hospital. However, when the video emerged, his jig was up.

Owens now faces charges of second-degree fraud, and many who have seen the video are left to wonder if the culprit really thought he'd get away with it.

"The old slip and fall routine," Metro commuter Yolanda Spivy said. "He is so not slick. That's been around longer than I've been living."

Owens was not home Thursday when he was sought for comment. His uncle, though, was shocked when he saw the tape; he could only shake his head while viewing the video.