AUSTIN, Texas - Randall Whited is charged with first-degree felony theft for allegedly stealing more than $1.5 million worth of printer toner from the Austin Public Library.
Brian Molloy is the Chief of Investigations for the Austin City Auditor’s Office and says this is the biggest fraud investigation the city has seen. “It’s probably the biggest fraud investigation the city audit has had by about two folds,” Molloy said.
He said the investigation into Randall Whited took longer than a year.
“It took a few months to get definitive proof he was stealing toner,” Molloy said. “We were trying to figure out how we could measure what was appropriate and what necessary.”
Malloy says they realized the purchases weren't necessary when security cameras caught Whited in the library at 6:45 A.M. putting toner in his car.
In the report, it states Whited had access to more than 10 library credit cards. Allegedly, he used them to over-purchase toner, steal it, then re-sell it online. He's also accused of buying more than $15,000 worth of electronics on the cards.
Whited began working at the library in 2007, but Molloy believes the bulk of the stealing happened between 2015 and 2019. “They gave up on doing their job or just rushed through it and that's how he got away with it for so long,” Malloy said.
Molloy says a lack of procedure and policies at the library allowed this to happen. “It’s shocking that it was missed,” he said. “It’s shocking that it was missed by multiple people, there wasn't just one person approving his purchases"
In a statement to FOX 7 Austin, Austin Public Library said in part they take fraud seriously and have taken steps to address deficiencies. Adding they’ve updated their purchasing operations, have reduced the number of employees who hae access to city credit cards, and are providing extra budget training to staff.
FULL STATEMENT: Roosevelt Weeks, Director of Austin Public Library:
“We appreciate the work of the Auditor’s Office on this investigation and accept their findings. We take fraud, waste, and abuse seriously, and while participating in the investigation we began taking immediate steps to address systemic deficiencies.
“We have updated our purchasing operations and strengthened internal controls to eliminate opportunities for fraud and waste. For example, we’ve reduced the number of employees who have access to City credit cards, eliminated the use of store-specific credit cards for office supplies, limited the use of third-party payment platforms, strengthened monitoring, and provided extra training to all staff with budget authority and purchasing responsibility.
“I believe these changes will prevent individuals with ill-intent from being able to take advantage of the internal control systems in the future, and ultimately result in a more robust program for protecting the City’s assets and the public’s money.”
Molloy says the next steps for the auditors office are to follow up on any disciplinary action that needs to be taken from the city side.
Whited is set to be arraigned October 13th.