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School employees indicted in textbook theft case

City News Service | 9/5/2013, 6:18 p.m.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — A grand jury indictment unsealed today charges a book seller and a dozen people who worked for four local school districts with the theft of thousands of new and used textbooks.

The indictment alleges that Corey Frederick, 43, a book buyer/seller who operates Doorkeeper Textz in Long Beach, recruited 12 school employees to whom he paid out more than $200,000 in bribes in exchange for allowing him to take whatever textbooks he requested.

Frederick then allegedly sold the textbooks — literature and language arts, economics, physics, anatomy and physiology titles — to various textbook distributors, including Amazon, Bookbyte and Follett Educational Services.

In some cases, the stolen books were resold to the same school districts, according to the District Attorney’s Office, which alleges the scheme began in May 2008.

Frederick pleaded not guilty last week to 12 counts of embezzlement and 13 counts of offering a bribe.

The indictment also names employees in the Los Angeles, Inglewood, Bellflower and Lynwood school districts, who are charged with one felony count each of embezzlement and accepting a bribe.

Named in the indictment are:

  • Vincent Browning, 59, a Bellflower Unified School District warehouse supervisor who allegedly received more than $47,000 from Frederick between November 2008 and September 2010. He has since retired;
  • Sandra Williams, 58, who worked as an office technician at University High School in the Los Angeles Unified School District. She is accused of receiving more than $34,000 in checks from Frederick between June 2008 and October 2010;
  • Olalekan Animasaun, 37, who worked as an office technician at the LAUSD’s Santee Education Center when he allegedly received more than $21,000 in checks from Frederick between January 2009 and October 2010;
  • Veronica Clanton Higgins, 36, who worked as a librarian in the Lynwood Unified School District. She is accused of accepting more than $14,000 in checks from Higgins between June 2008 and December 2010;
  • Adrienne Dozier, 62, who worked as an office technician at the LAUSD’s Venice High School. She is accused of accepting nearly $12,800 in checks from Frederick between June 2008 and October 2010;
  • Dinah Goodlett, 53, who worked as an office technician at the LAUSD’s Locke High School. She allegedly received nearly $6,100 in checks from Frederick between June 2009 and August 2009;
  • Stephanie Baurac-Holmes, 48, who worked as an office technician at Perry Middle School and Narbonne High School in the LAUSD when she allegedly received more than $4,600 in checks from Frederick between June 2008 and October 2010;
  • Shari Stewart, 46, who worked as a librarian in the Inglewood Unified School District. She allegedly received $4,200 in checks from Higgins between July 2008 and December 2010 while she was working at Crozier Middle School;
  • Denise Hill, 57, who worked as an office technician at the LAUSD’s Webster Middle School. She is accused of getting just over $4,000 in checks from Frederick between March 2009 and September 2010;
  • Sherry Calloway, 60, who allegedly received nearly $1,200 in checks between May 2009 and September 2009 while working as an office technician for Audubon Middle School in the LAUSD; and
  • Frank Fuston, 54, who worked as a plant manager in the Inglewood Unified School District. He allegedly received $1,100 in checks and cash from Frederick in July 2008.

The name of one other person who has not yet been arraigned was not released.

“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.

The investigation was launched after Inglewood Unified School District

police uncovered the alleged embezzlement within their district and presented

the case to the District Attorney’s Office.

The LAUSD issued a statement saying district officials learned of the indictment today.

“We are outraged by the alleged behavior of these employees, which is the equivalent of stealing directly from our students,” according to the district. “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.”