Texas Man Accused of Making $1.3 Million Selling Toner Stolen from Austin Public Library
A former Austin Public Library employee is accused of making a mint selling toner he stole from the library for nearly a dozen years.
Billy Gates and Russell Falcon with KXAN-TV report that Randall Whited of Kyle, Texas allegedly used the library's credit card to buy the toner, then sell it online. Austin's Office of the City Auditor alleges that Whited also used the card to buy "electronics and homegoods for personal use". This seems to have gone on from October of 2007 to July of 2019.
If this is true, how did Whited get away with abusing the library's credit card for so long?
The Austin American-Statesman reports that the city auditor blames "poor practices and procedures" by the Austin Public Library.
"The Library’s poor practices and procedures provided an opportunity for Whited to
steal from the City during his tenure, leading to waste and overspending by the department," the City Auditor's report reads. "Whited took advantage of poor purchasing reviews by his supervisors, former Financial Manager Victoria Rieger and Contract Management Specialist Monica McClure. Whited also took advantage of several other purchasing and budget-related shortcomings, such as having a role in the approval of his own purchases and insufficient oversight of the Library’s budget by Rieger and Assistant Director Dana McBee."
That's a longwinded way of saying Whited was given the company credit card and (allgedly) went nuts, and either no one noticed something was wrong or no one cared. (Just my opinion.)
The report lists what could be damning evidence, including references to surveillance footage showing Whited taking toner boxes from work and loading them into his trunk.
Hays County Jail records indicate Whited was arrested and booked on August 22 and charged with first degree felony theft. He was released on August 23.
According to the Statesman, he could face a minimum of 25 years in prison if convicted due to his past as a habitual offender. Whited has reportedly been arrested several times for theft over the past few decades.
I'm all for people with a past being given another chance. I have friends and family who've made mistakes, but found jobs after leaving prison and are doing great now. I can't help but agree with the city auditor here: it was the job of the library heads to catch discrepancies and suspicious spending, and someone was sleeping on the job for over a decade.