Los Angeles County prosecutors have charged 12 school employees, including two librarians, with stealing at least thousands of textbooks from their school districts—four of the nation’s poorest—for a book buyer, who allegedly paid them $200,000 in bribes, the Los Angeles Times has reported.
According to the report, prosecutors allege that Long Beach book buyer Corey Frederick recruited two librarians—Veronica Clanton-Higgins, a librarian in the Lynwood Unified School District, and Shari Stewart, a librarian in the Inglewood Unified School District—plus a campus supervisor, a former warehouse manager, and nine others to allegedly steal textbooks in literature and language arts, economics, physics, anatomy and physiology from schools in Los Angeles, Inglewood, and Bellflower from 2008–2010. Prosecutors allege that the participants stole at least 7,000 textbooks from the Los Angeles Unified School District alone, although they could not confirm how many in total were stolen.
Prosecutors allege that ringleader Frederick sold both new and used books through intermediaries to various textbook distributors—including Amazon, Seattle book distributor Bookbyte, and Follett Educational Services—and, in some cases, even sold books back to the institutions from which they were originally stolen weeks before.
Prosecutors uncovered the scheme after Inglewood Unified School District police notified prosecutors of an alleged embezzlement in their district, according to the report, which notes that Frederick is charged with 12 counts of embezzlement and 13 counts of offering a bribe. The individual school employees face charges of embezzlement and accepting a bribe.