There's taking a kid's lunch money, which is pretty low. Then there's letting a guy to steal L.A. school books and sell them on sites such as Amazon.
That's what the District Attorney's office says. Twelve area school district employees were indicted for allegedly taking $200,000 worth of bribes so the suspect could have at the textbook stacks and even, in some cases, sell them back to schools (!!!), prosecutors allege.
In a statement the L.A. Unified School District called it “the equivalent of stealing directly from our students:”
The suspect who the D.A.'s office says was swiping the books and selling them was ID'd as Corey Frederick, 43, who runs Doorkeeper Textz in Long Beach.
The defendants were hit with a 37-count indictment last month, with 12 of 13 of them having pleaded not guilty already.
The suspects hail from L.A. Unified as well as districts in Inglewood, Lynwood and Bellflower, prosecutors said.
Here's the crux of the allegations, via a D.A.'s statement:
Over a two-year period beginning in May 2008, Frederick allegedly paid school employees anywhere from $600 up to $47,000 per person to steal textbooks in literature and language arts, economics, physics, anatomy and physiology.
In total, prosecutors allege Frederick paid out more than $200,000 in bribes to the school employees named in the indictment. In return, the employees allegedly allowed Frederick to take whatever books he requested, even, on some occasions, allowing him to take new textbooks.
Frederick then allegedly resold the stolen new and used books to various textbook distributors, including Amazon, Seattle book distributor Bookbyte, and Follett Educational Services in Illinois.
The dozen school workers all face one count of embezzlement and one of accepting bribes. Frederick was charged with 12 counts of embezzlement and 13 counts of offering bribes.
The other suspects were ID'd by the D.A.'s office:
Veronica Clanton-Higgins, 36, a librarian in the Lynwood Unified School District. Clanton-Higgins allegedly accepted $14,214 in checks from Frederick between June 6, 2008, and Dec. 2, 2010.
Shari Stewart, 46, a librarian in the Inglewood Unified School District. Stewart worked at Crozier Middle School when she allegedly received $4,200 in checks between July 10, 2008, and Dec. 2, 2010, from Frederick.
Vincent Browning, a Bellflower Unified School District warehouse supervisor. Browning allegedly received a total of $47,728 from Frederick between Nov. 18, 2008, and Sept. 27, 2010. Browning, who has since retired, was the only employee from Bellflower Unified School District to be indicted.
Frank Fuston, 54, who worked as a plant manager in the Inglewood Unified School District when he allegedly received $1,100 in checks and cash in July 2008 from Frederick.
Among the LAUSD employees named in the indictment:
Sandra Williams, 58, who worked as an office technician at University High School, when she allegedly received $34,718 in checks between June 10, 2008, and Oct. 8, 2010, from Frederick.
Denise Hill, 57, who worked as an office technician at Webster Middle School, when she allegedly received $4,003 in checks between March 12, 2009, and Sept. 23, 2010, from Frederick.
Dinah Goodlett, 53, who worked as an office technician at Locke High School, when she allegedly received $6,099 in checks between June 17, 2009, and Aug. 17, 2009, from Frederick.
Adrienne Dozier, 62, who worked as an office technician at Venice High School, when she allegedly received $12,798 in checks between June 25, 2008, and Oct. 26, 2010, from Frederick.
Sherry Calloway, 60, who worked as an office technician at Audubon Middle School, when she allegedly received $1,191 in checks between May 31, 2009, and Sept. 3, 2009.
Stephanie Baurac-Holmes, 48, who worked as an office technician at Perry Middle School and Narbonne High School, when she allegedly received $4,675 in checks between June 19, 2008, and Oct. 8, 2010, from Frederick.
Olalekan Animasaun, 37, who worked as an office technician at Santee Education Center, when he allegedly received $21,573 in checks between Jan. 30, 2009, and Oct. 8, 2010, from Frederick.
The L.A. Unified School District distributed this statement last night:
We are outraged by the alleged behavior of these employees, which is the equivalent of stealing directly from our students. We are taking immediate action to suspend any accused employee currently working for LAUSD. If the allegations are true, we will do everything within our legal power to recoup from the parties involved the resources stolen through these reprehensible acts. The LAUSD will cooperate with the DA's office in all aspects of this case.