Two librarians are among a dozen Southern California school employees accused of stealing thousands of textbooks from their districts in exchange for thousands of dollars, paid allegedly by a Southland book buyer, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Some of the books taken from financially strapped public schools were resold to the districts from which they were stolen, investigators said.
Book buyer and seller Corey Frederick, 43, is accused of running the two-year scheme.
The operator of “Doorkeeper Textz” in Long Beach, Frederick allegedly paid between $6,000 and $47,000 to the school employees in exchange for literature, language arts, economics, physical anatomy and physiology textbooks.
At least 7,000 textbooks were taken from the Los Angeles Unified School District alone, prosecutors said, adding that because districts do not have a system to track the books, they do not know how many texts were stolen.
The allegedly stolen texts were resold to various distributors, including Amazon, Bookbyte and Follett Educational Services, the DA said.
Police with the Inglewood Unified School District first uncovered the alleged embezzlement scheme in their district. The investigation grew to include employees from the Los Angeles, Lynwood and Bellflower school districts, officials said.
Frederick is accused of paying out a total of more than $200,000 in bribes to these employees, according to the DA’s office:
- Veronica Clanton-Higgins, 36, a librarian in the Lynwood Unified School District, allegedly accepted $14,214;
- Shari Stewart, 46, was a librarian at Crozier Middle School when she allegedly received $4,200;
- Vincent Browning, a now-retired Bellflower Unified School District warehouse supervisor, allegedly received $47,728;
- Frank Fuston, 54, was a plant manager in the Inglewood Unified School District when he allegedly received $1,100 in checks and cash;
- Sandra Williams, 58, worked as an office technician at University High School when she allegedly received $34,718;
- Denise Hill, 57, worked as an office technician at Webster Middle School when she allegedly received $4,003;
- Dinah Goodlett, 53, worked as an office technician at Locke High School when she allegedly received $6,099;
- Adrienne Dozier, 62, worked as an office technician at Venice High School when she allegedly received $12,798;
- Sherry Calloway, 60, worked as an office technician at Audubon Middle School when she allegedly received $1,191;
- Stephanie Baurac-Holmes, 48, worked as an office technician at Perry Middle School and Narbonne High School when she allegedly received $4,675;
- Olalekan Animasaun, 37, worked as an office technician at Santee Education Center when he allegedly received $21,573.
Twelve of the 13 defendants have pleaded not guilty in the 37-count indictment, which was unsealed Thursday.
Each school employee faces one felony count each of embezzlement and accepting a bribe. Frederick faces 12 counts of embezzlement and 14 counts of offering a bribe, authorities said.
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