Workplace theft isn’t a new phenomenon, but this case is a little different. A public library worker has been accused of stealing $1.3 million worth of printer toner and selling it online. He also used workplace credit cards to buy electronic gadgets and video games.
A 72-page City of Austin audit report accuses the employee, Randall Whited, of ordering $1.5 million worth of printer toner between October 2017 and July 2019. That’s enough for a lot of printouts, even for a library—it would have required about $150,000 worth of toner during this period—but the accounting associate stored most of it in his garage and sold it online.
“Whited took advantage of poor purchasing reviews by his supervisors,” the report states. “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.”
According to the report, Whited carried out his crime by often arriving more than 30 minutes before his start time, something he was told not to do due to the lack of supervisors that early. It’s alleged that he would then take the printer toner down to the parking garage and load up his car.
In addition to the toner theft, Whited is accused of using ten library credit cards to buy $18,000 worth of items for his personal use, including video games, virtual reality headsets, a drone, and a robot vacuum cleaner.
Following a tip-off in March 2019, auditors began reviewing receipts, purchasing documents, and video footage, finding evidence of “inadequate” and altered records, some of which showed his home address as the shipping address.
Whited resigned in August 2019 in lieu of being fired over “an unrelated issue.” He was indicted by a grand jury in September on a theft charge and has a hearing on October 13.
Buying goods with employer’s money and illicitly selling them isn’t rare. Last month, we heard about a former IT director who was jailed for selling government-owned network switches on eBay.