Source AP ©

15 former Eiffel Tower workers are accused of appropriating funds

A Paris court convicted 15 former Eiffel Tower workers of robbing funds from the monument's ticket office. They have to pay a total of 700,000 EUR (US$940,000) in damages and fines.

The 15 - all former cashiers at the monument - stole 1 million EUR (US$1.34 million) between 1996 and 2002 by exploiting a computer glitch allowing them to print tickets that would not show up on register receipts, according to court documents.

The Eiffel Tower's management filed a complaint against them in 2002, after receiving an anonymous tip about the fraud. Investigators discovered a large difference between the number of tickets officially sold by the suspects and those sold by their colleagues.

The court also noted that some of the suspects withdrew no funds from their bank accounts during the period of the fraudulent activity.

The court imposed fines of between 2,000 EUR and 10,000 EUR (US$2,690 and US$13,440), and damages between 8,900 EUR and 100,500 EUR (US$11,900 and US$135,000).

The 15 suspects also received suspended jail sentences of between three and 12 months.

Constructed in 1889, the Eiffel Tower has more than 6.2 million visitors each year.