- More than 7,000 school textbooks were taken
- The employees were paid from $600 up to $47,000, authorities say
- Official: "Taking books out of the hands of public school students is intolerable"
Twelve Los Angeles County employees stole thousands of textbooks from school districts to supply them to a buyer, who paid them bribes, court records show.
The buyer, who was also indicted, allegedly paid out $200,000 in bribes for the books.
Prosecutors say the alleged thefts occurred in four financially-strapped Los Angeles school districts.
"Taking books out of the hands of public school students is intolerable -- especially when school employees sell them for their own personal profit," L.A. District Attorney Jackie Lacey said.
The school employees were recruited for the two-year-long scheme by Corey Frederick, a Long Beach book buyer, prosecutors said.
The employees were paid from $600 up to $47,000 to steal textbooks in literature, language arts, economics, physics,anatomy and physiology, prosecutors said. Frederick is accused of reselling the stolen textbooks online and in some cases, selling them back to the same school districts they were taken from.
In all, at least 7,000 textbooks were taken, prosecutors allege.
Two school librarians, a warehouse supervisor and several school office workers are among the county employees indicted.
The school employees were charged with embezzlement and accepting bribes. Frederick was charged with 12 counts of embezzlement and 13 counts of offering bribes.
Twelve of the 13 suspects have pleaded not guilty, authorities said.