A Long Beach book buyer has been accussed of stealing thousands of new and used textbooks from four school districts in a massive scheme that involved 12 other people, including two librarians, a campus supervisor and a former warehouse manager.
Bellflower, Inglewood, Lynwood and Los Angeles unfied school districts were impacted by the scheme, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey.
The book buyer, Corey Frederick, 43, is charged with 12 counts of embezzlement and 13 counts of offering a bribe. He pleaded not guilty on Thursday to the charges in Los Angeles Superior Court. Eleven others pleaded not guilty on Thursday to one felony count of embezzlement and accepting a bribe. Another school employees did not show for the court appearance.
“These things, if proved, are what hurt public schools,” said Don Brann, state trustee for Inglewood Unified.
“If these kinds of abuses are proven, the punishment needs to make sure it doesn’t happen in the future.”
The 37-count indictment was returned Aug. 20 and unsealed Thursday after the arraignment.
It alleges that 12 employees, including a former Bellflower warehouse supervisor and an Inglewood plant manager, were recruited by Frederick, a book buyer and seller who operates Doorkeeper Textz in Long Beach.
During a two-year period beginning in May 2008, Frederick allegedly paid more than $200,000 in bribes — from $600 to $47,000 per person — for school employees to steal textbooks in literature and language arts, economics, physics, anatomy and physiology.
The District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation launched an investigation in 2012 after Inglewood Unified police uncovered the alleged embezzlement in their district and presented the case to the District Attorney’s Office for criminal prosecution, Lacey said.
After allegedly bribing school employees, Frederick was allowed to take whatever books he requested, even, on some occasions, new textbooks.
Frederick then allegedly resold the stolen new and used books to various distributors, including Amazon, Seattle-based Bookbyte and Follett Educational Services in Illinois.