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School District Employees Indicted in Massive Textbook Theft Ring

Two librarians were among 13 people indicted in massive scheme to steal thousands of new and used textbooks from four school districts, prosecutors announced Thursday.

A 37-count indictment accuses employees at Los Angeles, Inglewood, Lynwood and Bellflower school districts of stealing thousands of textbooks for a book buyer, who allegedly paid them $200,000 in bribes.

textbooks-smThe investigation began after police working for the Inglewood Unified School District uncovered alleged embezzlement in their district.

Over a two-year period beginning in May 2008, Long Beach book buyer Frederick allegedly paid school employees anywhere from $600 to $47,000 per person to steal textbooks in literature and language arts, economics, physics, anatomy and physiology.

In total, prosecutors allege Frederick, 43, paid out more than $200,000 in bribes to the employees named in the indictment.

Many of the textbooks were then allegedly resold by Frederick to distributors, including Amazon, Bookbyte, and Follett Educational Services in Illinois, prosecutors said.

In some cases, investigators discovered that books stolen from the districts were resold to the same districts.

“Taking books out of the hands of public school students is intolerable – especially when school employees sell them for their own personal profit,” District Attorney Jackie Lacey said.

Prosecutors said at least 7,000 textbooks were taken just from LAUSD.  However, because the districts lacked any organized system to track books, prosecutors said they did not have a total number of books stolen.

The school employees were charged with one felony count each of embezzlement and accepting a bribe.

Frederick was charged with 12 counts of embezzlement and 13 counts of offering a bribe.

Among those accused of accepting bribes were:

Veronica Clanton-Higgins, 36, a librarian in the Lynwood Unified School District.
Shari Stewart, 46, a librarian in the Inglewood Unified School District.
Vincent Browning, a Bellflower Unified School District warehouse supervisor.
Frank Fuston, 54, who worked as a plant manager in the Inglewood Unified School District.
Sandra Williams, 58, who worked as an office technician at University High School.
Denise Hill, 57, who worked as an office technician at Webster Middle School.
Dinah Goodlett, 53, who worked as an office technician at Locke High School.
Adrienne Dozier, 62, who worked as an office technician at Venice High School.
Sherry Calloway, 60, who worked as an office technician at Audubon Middle School.
Stephanie Baurac-Holmes, 48, who worked as an office technician at Perry Middle School and Narbonne High School.
Olalekan Animasaun, 37, who worked as an office technician at Santee Education Center.

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