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$1.3 million toner theft from Austin Library

October 6, 2020

Austin Public Library (APL) found evidence that one of its former employees stole at least $1.3 million (€1.1 million) in printer toner cartridges and resold them online.

In an investigative report entitled Austin Public Library: Fraud and Waste, the Library has admitted to finding evidence that Randall Whited, previously employed at the library, fraudulently bought and stole at least $1.3 million (€1.1 million) in printer toner cartridges and resold it online. The report also said Whited also misused a Library credit card to buy electronics and home goods for personal use.

In March 2019 the Office of the City Auditor received an allegation that Randall Whited, an Austin Public Library employee, was stealing printer toner cartridges, storing it in his garage, and selling it online. As an Accounting Associate, Whited was responsible for making and approving purchases, cash receipts, billing, and other accounting transactions.

Findings of the report showed that Whited had access to ten Library credit cards and was responsible for purchasing supplies, including printer toner cartridges, for APL. Whited purchased at least $1.5 million (€1.27 million) in printer toner cartridges between October 2007 and July 2019. Based on available printer usage information, but according to the report, the office estimated that APL would have needed at most $150,000 (€127,212) worth of printer toner cartridges during this time. The report shows video evidence of Whited carrying the cartridges away from his workplace and altered receipts for the purchases.

The report stated: “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. 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.”

Whited resigned in lieu of termination for an unrelated issue in August 2019 and APL referred these issues to the Austin Police Department, due to the potentially criminal nature of Whited’s actions.

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